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New York, April 14, 2009 – The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the names of 17 writers who will receive its 2009 awards in literature.  The awards will be presented in New York in May at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial.  The literature prizes, over $125,000, honor both established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  The Academy’s 250 members nominate candidates, and a rotating committee of writers selects winners.  This year’s committee members were Allan Gurganus (chairman), Kwame Anthony Appiah, Mary Gordon, A. R. Gurney, Philip Levine, Rosanna Warren, Edmund White, and Joy Williams.

Gold Medal for Poetry

A medal given for an entire body of work.   Mark Strand

Award of Merit Medal for the Novel

A medal and $10,000 given once every six years to an outstanding novelist.   Denis Johnson

Academy Awards in Literature

Seven Academy Awards in Literature of $7500 each are given annually to honor exceptional accomplishment in any genre.
Rilla Askew, Michael Collier, Tracy Letts, D. Nurkse, Marie Ponsot, George Saunders, and Susan Stewart

E. M. Forster Award

$20,000 to a young writer from the United Kingdom or Ireland for a stay in the United States.  Award jury: Margaret Drabble, Alison Lurie, Paul Muldoon.   Paul Farley

Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction

$5000 for the best work of first fiction (novel or short stories) published in 2008.   Charles Bock, Beautiful Children

Addison M. Metcalf Award

$10,000 to a young writer of great promise.   Ron Currie, Jr.

Rome Fellowships in Literature

A one-year residency (2009-2010) at the American Academy in Rome.   Peter Campion and Eliza Griswold

Rosenthal Family Foundation Award

$5000 to a young writer of considerable literary talent for a work published in 2008.   Chris Adrian, A Better Angel

Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award

$10,000 to a writer whose work merits recognition for the quality of its prose style.   Sharon Cameron

Thornton Wilder Prize for Translation

$20,000 to a practitioner, scholar, or patron who has made a significant contribution to the art of literary translation.
Gregory Rabassa

Press Contact: Jane Bolster, academy AT, (212) 368-5900.