October 6, 2009 "Fiction at the Library of Congress" Program on Oct. 23 to Highlight New Website and Library's Collections of National Book Award Winners in Fiction

Program to Celebrate 60 Years of National Book Awards

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Four Library of Congress veterans—John Y. Cole and Guy Lamolinara of the Center for the Book, Mark Dimunation of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division and Alice Birney of the Manuscript Division—will present “Fiction at the Library of Congress,” on Friday, Oct. 23, at noon in the West Dining Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The program is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

The program and discussion will focus on the history and future directions of the Library’s American literature collections. The speakers will introduce an online feature focusing on the fiction collections of the Library of Congress available at www.read.gov, the new Library website overseen by the Center for the Book, which was introduced on Sept. 26 at the National Book Festival.

With its significant holdings pertaining to prominent National Book Award Fiction winners Ralph Ellison, Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud, the Library will also take part in the National Book Foundation’s 2009 celebration of 60 years of National Book Awards for Fiction (www.nationalbook.org). This celebration will culminate at the 2009 National Book Awards ceremony in New York on Nov. 18.

Ellison won the Fiction Award in 1953 for “Invisible Man”; Malamud for “The Magic Barrel” (1959) and “The Fixer” (1967); and Roth for “Goodbye, Columbus” (1960) and “Sabbath’s Theater” (1995).

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 “to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries.” With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center’s Books and Beyond author series brings writers of all genres to the Library of Congress to discuss their work.

The Rare Book and Special Collections Division has custody of nearly 800,000 books, broadsides, pamphlets, theater playbills, title pages, prints, posters, photographs, and medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. The division’s holdings encompass nearly all eras and subjects, with a multitude of strengths. The collection of nearly 5,700 incunabula (15th century imprints) is the largest such grouping in the Western Hemisphere. Americana dates from a Columbus letter (1493) to the present.

The Manuscript Division’s holdings comprise nearly 63 million items in 11,000 separate collections and include some of the greatest manuscript treasures of American history and culture. Among these are Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, James Madison’s notes on the Federal Convention, George Washington’s first inaugural address, the paper tape of the first telegraphic message, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and second inaugural address and Alexander Graham Bell’s first drawing of the telephone.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.


PR 09-201
ISSN 0731-3527