Louise Erdrich, author of 14 novels including the National Book Award-winner The Round House and National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Love Medicine, was named the recipient of the 2015 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. She’ll receive the award at the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, DC this September.
In an email to the New York Times, Erdrich wrote of the honor, “It seems that these awards are given to a writer entirely different from the person I am — ordinary and firmly fixed… Given the life I lead, it is surprising these books got written. Maybe I owe it all to my first job — hoeing sugar beets. I stare at lines of words all day and chop out the ones that suck life from the rest of the sentence. Eventually all those rows add up.”
Since 2008, the Library of Congress has given versions of this award to fiction writers “whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination” and those with “strong, unique, enduring voices that, throughout long, consistently accomplished careers, have told us something about the American experience.” Past recipients include John Grisham, Isabel Allende, Toni Morrison, and E.L. Doctorow.