National Book Foundation "5 under 35" honoree Claire Vaye Watkins has claimed two new honors in the same week. She prevailed over Dan Chaon and Junot Diaz to win the Story Prize for her book BATTLEBORN, and she is also is receiving the American Academy of Arts and Letters award given to "a young writer of considerable literary talent for a work published in 2012."
The Academy named 19 recipients in all of a total of $175,000 in literature prizes this year. A new E.B. White Award for achievement in children's literature has been given to author of TUCK EVERLASTING, Natalie Babbitt. Kevin Powers picks up another award for THE YELLOW BIRDS, and Jennifer Egan is receiving their biennial award for "a writer in mid-career whose work has demonstrated consistent excellence." The medal for an outstanding short story writer, given every six years, goes to Lydia Davis, and Mischa Berlinski (author of 2007 National Book Award finalist FIELDWORK) received their prize for a young writer.
As for membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters itself, they added author Ward Just to their 250-person ranks. Writer Damon Galgut was given honorary foreign membership and Bob Dylan is an honorary American member. Michael Chabon will give the annual address--titled Rock 'n' Roll--at the induction of the newest members.
The start-up $60,000 UK literature award founded by Aiken Alexander agent Andrew Kidd will be sponsored by The Folio Society, "publisher of beautiful illustrated books." As noted as part of the heavily-hyped, embargoed and press-conferenced announcement on Wednesday, the award will be known as The Folio Prize. The UK is already thick with book awards, but this one is being positioned as alternative Booker (just as awards in other countries like the NBAs are trying to make themselves more Booker-like.) A newly-formed "Academy" of authors and critics will nominate 60 of the 80 eligible books.
The first prize is still a year away, to be conferred in March 2014, with a shortlist--of eight books, rather than the Booker's six--to be named in February. A panel of five judges will aim to pick the "best English-language fiction from around the world, published in the UK."