February 22, 2019 Library to Explore Pressing Environmental Issues in a Program Honoring Annie Proulx, Winner of the Prize for American Fiction
“Climate Change, Nature and the Writer’s Eye” on March 20 Will Feature Proulx, Science Writer Peter Brannen, Novelist Amitav Ghosh
Press Contact: Brett Zongker (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Rob Casper (202) 707-1308
Website: Prize for American Fiction
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The Library of Congress will honor the lifetime achievement of novelist Annie Proulx, winner of the Library’s Prize for American Fiction, in a program titled “Climate Change, Nature and the Writer’s Eye.” The discussion on March 20 will explore the role of writers and the intersection between literature and the environment.
Proulx is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Shipping News,” the renowned short story “Brokeback Mountain” that was made into an Academy Award-winning film, and the 2016 novel “Barkskins,” among many other works. Science writer Peter Brannen and Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh will join Proulx to discuss issues of climate change and a writer’s responsibility to represent its realities.
“Writers who use the wide palette of the natural world command an important vantage point from which to observe the issues of climate change, rising seas, animal and insect extinctions, or the loss of woodlands,” Proulx said. “I am sure this discussion will be valuable and very timely.”
The discussion will be moderated by author Marie Arana, senior literary advisor to the Librarian of Congress. “Climate Change, Nature and the Writer’s Eye” promises a lively exchange between two great literary masters, a prize-winning journalist and a historian of Latin America, all of whom have written passionately on environmental degradation, mass extinctions and the human quotient.
“Seldom have we seen the arts join science to issue such a vibrant summons to confront the most urgent task of our time,” Arana said.
The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free, but tickets are required. For tickets, please visit this ticketing site: lc-prize.eventbrite.com.
Each year, the prestigious 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.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden chose Proulx for the 2018 prize, honoring her as an “American original,” based on the recommendation of a jury of distinguished authors and prominent literary critics from around the world. The prize was awarded during the National Book Festival in 2018.
About the Speakers
- Annie Proulx is the author of 10 books, including the novel “The Shipping News” and the story collection “Close Range.” Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Proulx’s many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award and a PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2017 and 2018, she was awarded the National Book Foundation’s 2017 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction and the Ucross Foundation’s inaugural 2018 Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts. Proulx's most recent novel, “Barkskins” (Scribner, 2016), was a New York Times Notable Book, a Kirkus Prize Finalist for Best Novel and was one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 10 Books of 2016. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
- Peter Brannen is an award-winning science journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Wired, The Boston Globe, Slate and The Guardian, among other publications. His book, “The Ends of the World,” about the science behind the five major mass extinctions in Earth's history, was published by Harper Collins in 2017. It was named a New York Times Editor's Choice and one of the 10 Best Environment, Climate Science and Conservation Books of 2017 by Forbes. Peter is currently a Scripps Fellow at the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder.
- Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He is the author of two books of nonfiction, a collection of essays and eight novels. His most recent book is “The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable” (2016). His books have won prizes in India, Europe and Myanmar, and he has been awarded honorary degrees by the Sorbonne, Paris, and by Queens College, New York. He is married to the writer Deborah Baker and divides his time between Brooklyn, Goa and Kolkata. Amitav Ghosh’s work has been translated into more than 30 languages, and he has served on the jury of the Locarno Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.
The Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that—throughout long, consistently accomplished careers—have told us something valuable about the American experience.
For more information on the prize, including previous winners, visit loc.gov/about/awards-and-honors/fiction-prize/.
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