A well-known novelist Edgar Lawrence Doctorow and Maya Angelou, an American writer and poet, are the next to be awarded by the National Book Foundation. The former is to receive the 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the latter – the 2013 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, two of the highest honors a writer can get in the United States.
According to National Book Foundation Executive Director, Harold Augenbraum, his organization is happy to recognize the exploits of two such impressive figures. He characterized Doctorow as an extraordinary master of historical fiction and social commentary, one of the few people capable of showing historical events in such a vivid and passionate fashion. Moreover, he said it would be a great opportunity to honor a native New Yorker in his own hometown for once. As for Angelou, he referred to her as a forefront fighter for social rights and one of the most powerful symbols of redemptive power of literature.
Doctorow’s fate as a famous writer was, in a way, preceded by his given name – his parents named him after Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most important writers for the American literature. For years he worked as an editor before embracing the life of a man who writes his own books – throughout his life he published more than ten novels and a number of essays, short stories and plays, creating a literary name well-known throughout the world – his works have been translated into more than thirty languages.
Dr. Maya Angelou, also known as Marguerite Johnson, has led a long and turbulent life, rising to literary distinction after the publication of her autobiographical work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969. She still remains one of the most notable African American writers of our time, and one of the first to be recognized for her literary contributions – in 1992, when participating in Bill Clinton’s inauguration, she became the second poet and the first African American woman to perform her poem in the course of this procedure. Now she possesses more than thirty different honorary degrees and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest honor available for civilians in the United States of America.
These two awards will be handed to them during the 64th National Book Awards Ceremony that will take place in New York on November 20 this year.