Marilynne Robinson, author of the 2016 All Iowa Reads selection Lila, will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival on Sept. 24.
The National Book Festival and the prize ceremony will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
The annual Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction honors an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination. The award seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that—throughout long, consistently accomplished careers—have told us something new about the American experience.
Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao chose Robinson based on the recommendation of a jury of distinguished authors and prominent literary critics from around the world. He said of the selection, "With the depth and resonance of her novels, Marilynne Robinson captures the American soul. We are proud to confer this prize on her and her extraordinary work."
"American literature has been a kind of spiritual home to me for as long as I have been aware of it. So this award could not be more gratifying," Robinson said.
Robinson was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, in 1943. She is the author of four novels: "Lila" (2014), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; "Home" (2008), winner of the Orange Prize (UK) and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; "Gilead" (2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and "Housekeeping" (1980), winner of PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction. Her five nonfiction books include "The Givenness of Things: Essays" (2015) and "The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought" (1998).
Robinson’s many other honors include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Fund, the National Humanities Medal, and the American Academy of Religion in the Arts Award. Robinson, a longtime faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Robinson lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is a deacon for the Congregational United Church of Christ.
The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, holds more than 162 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at loc.gov.
For more information on the All Iowa Reads program, go to: http://www.iowacenterforthebook.org/air/home.