Cormac McCarthy wins lifetime achievement award
Author of The Road and All The Pretty Horses honoured with the PEN/Saul Bellow award for a career 'in the highest rank of American literature'
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 7 May 2009 11.53 BST
Cormac McCarthy, author of The Road and All the Pretty Horses, has won a lifetime achievement award from writers' organisation PEN.
上周，美国笔会也给E. L. 多克托罗——《但以理书》与 《拉格泰姆时代》的作者，兼多种文学奖项的大赢家——颁发了笔会/ Borders文学贡献奖，该奖此前曾授予高尔•维达和托尼•莫里森，笔会声称，如是旨在褒奖“某位著名美国作家，而其杰作独创而有力地引导读者体会到人类的处境”。
The $25,000 (£16,500) PEN/Saul Bellow award, established in conjunction with the estate of Bellow, goes to an American fiction writer whose work "possesses qualities of excellence, ambition, and scale of achievement over a sustained career which place him or her in the highest rank of American literature". Bellow himself was a champion of McCarthy's work: in 1981 the Nobel laureate was part of the panel which awarded McCarthy the MacArthur "genius" grant, praising his "absolutely overpowering use of language, his life-giving and death-dealing sentences".
The biennial PEN prize was first awarded to Philip Roth in 2007, and Roth sat on the panel of judges who selected McCarthy as this year's winner. Bellow was also an early fan of Roth's work, heralding his 1959 debut Goodbye Columbus as the work of an author who was "skilled, witty, energetic and performs like a virtuoso". "Unlike those of us who come howling into the world, blind and bare, Mr Roth appears with nails, hair, teeth, speaking coherently," Bellow said at the time. "Goodbye, Columbus is a first book but it is not the book of a beginner."
Winner of a Pulitzer for The Road and a National Book Award for All the Pretty Horses, McCarthy was once described as "the best unknown novelist in America". Widely respected by critics, his novels – The Orchard Keeper, Outer Dark, Blood Meridian – would sell only a couple of thousand copies, until he published 1992's All the Pretty Horses, the first volume in his Border trilogy, and it hit the bestseller lists.
Not, however, that this is likely to have bothered the notoriously reclusive author – granting a rare interview to Oprah Winfrey in 2007, he told her that "in all honesty I have to say I really don't, I just don't", in response to her questioning about if he cared that millions of people were now reading his books. "You would like for the people that would appreciate the book to read it, but as far as many, many people reading it, so what?" he said.
Last week PEN also presented EL Doctorow, author of The Book of Daniel and Ragtime and recipient of a host of literary prizes, with the PEN/Borders literary service award, previously given to Gore Vidal and Toni Morrison. The award is intended to honour "a distinguished American writer whose critically acclaimed work helps readers understand the human condition in original and powerful ways", said PEN.