Washington, DC––James Salter has been selected to receive the 25th annual PEN/Malamud Award. Given annually since 1988 in honor of the late Bernard Malamud, this award recognizes a body of work that demonstrates excellence in the art of short fiction. The announcement was made today by the directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Robert Stone and Susan Richards Shreve, Co-Chairs.
“As Bernard Malamud shows us in story after story, nothing so concentrates the writer's beam of light than the sentence-making required of writing short fiction. Over the many years of his distinguished career, James Salter has shown us how to work with fire, flame, the laser, all the forces of life at the service of creating sentences that spark and make stories burn,” said Alan Cheuse, a member of the selection committee.
James Salter is regarded as one of the finest living practitioners of fiction by his fellow writers, by critics, and by the lucky readers familiar with his work. Robert Burke, writing in the Bloomsbury Review, called him “one of the best writers in this country,” and Publishers Weekly has called him, “the author of some of the most esteemed fiction of the past three decades.”
Mr. Salter is the author of many short stories and story collections. His 1988 collection Dusk and Other Stories received the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Ned Rorem, writing in the Washington Post, ranked Salter’s stories alongside the works of Flannery O’Conner, Paul Bowles, John Cheever, and Tennessee Williams. Salter has also written numerous highly acclaimed novels, including A Sport and a Pastime, Light Years, and Solo Faces, which John Irving proclaimed “a terrific novel–-compelling, sad, wise, and kind hearted. Mr. Salter’s prose is rare and stunning.” He is also the author of screenplays, poetry, essays, and a memoir, Burning the Days.
Born in 1925 and raised in New York City, Mr. Salter graduated from West Point in 1945. He served in the Army Air Force as a fighter pilot. After the successful publication of The Hunters, his first novel, Mr. Salter resigned his commission in 1957 in order to devote himself to his writing.
The PEN/Malamud Award includes a reading in the 2012/2013 PEN/Faulkner Reading Series at the Folger Shakespeare Library and a prize of $5,000. The selection committee is composed of a panel of PEN/Faulkner Board members. Mr. Salter will be given the award on December 7, 2012 at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Tickets for the event will go on sale September 1, 2012.
Previous PEN/Malamud Award winners include: Edith Pearlman, Edward P. Jones, Nam Le, John Updike, Saul Bellow, George Garrett, Frederick Busch and Andre Dubus, Eudora Welty, Peter Taylor, Grace Paley, Stuart Dybek and William Maxwell, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munro, John Barth, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Ann Beattie and Nathan Englander, Sherman Alexie, Richard Ford, Junot Diaz, Ursula K. Le Guin, Barry Hannah, Maile Meloy, Richard Bausch, Nell Freudenberger, Lorrie Moore, Tobias Wolff, Adam Haslett, Elizabeth Spencer, Cynthia Ozick Peter Ho Davies, Amy Hempel and Alistair MacLeod.
During his 37-year writing career, Bernard Malamud received the National Book Award twice as well as the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Faulkner Award nomination, and the Gold Medal for lifetime achievement from the National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. His published works include: The Natural, The Magic Barrel, The Fixer, and The Stories of Bernard Malamud.
Talking about the art of the short story, Malamud said, “I like packing a self or two into a few pages, predicting lifetimes. The drama is terse, happens faster, and is often outlandish. A short story is a way of indicating the complexity of life in a few pages, producing the surprise and effect of a profound knowledge in a short time.”
The PEN/Faulkner Foundation, now celebrating its 32nd year, is committed to building audiences for literature and bringing writers together with their readers. This mission is accomplished through readings at the Folger by distinguished writers who have won the respect of readers and writers alike; the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the largest peer- juried award for fiction in the United States; the PEN/Malamud Award, honoring excellence in the short story; and the Writers in Schools program, which brings nationally and internationally- acclaimed authors to public high school classrooms in Washington to discuss their work with students.
For more information visit www.penfaulkner.org.