Our Father of Gay Letters, Edmund White To Receive Honorary National Book Award

Edmund White is to receive an honorary National Book Award.

White, 79, is among the most influential gay writers of his time, known for works such as A Boy’s Own Story and The Beautiful Room is Empty and for helping to create the market for openly gay literature. The National Book Foundation announced Thursday that director John Waters will present White with his medal during the Nov. 20 awards ceremony and benefit dinner.

According to the Associated Press:

Winning an honorary National Book Award has Edmund White thinking about the more pleasurable moments of the writing life.

“Everybody always complains about it, but it occurred to me the other day that it is better than working and you meet lots of interesting people,” says White, this year’s recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, an award previously given to Toni Morrison and Philip Roth, among others.

White, 79, is among the most influential gay writers of his time, known for works such as “A Boy’s Own Story” and “The Beautiful Room is Empty” and for helping to create the market for openly gay literature. The National Book Foundation announced Thursday that director John Waters will present White with his medal during the Nov. 20 awards ceremony and benefit dinner. An honorary award also will be given to the head of the American Booksellers Association, Oren Teicher, and competitive prizes for fiction, nonfiction, translation, poetry and young people’s literature will be announced.

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