The annual prize 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. The award seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that — throughout long, consistently accomplished careers — have told us something new about the American experience.”
Robinson is the author of four novels: “Lila” (2014), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; “Home” (2008), winner of the Orange Prize (UK) and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; “Gilead” (2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and “Housekeeping” (1980), winner of PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction. Her five nonfiction books include “The Givenness of Things: Essays” (2015) and “The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought” (1998).
“Housekeeping” was adapted into a film in 1987 and starred Christine Lahti as the eccentric Aunt Sylvie.
“American literature has been a kind of spiritual home to me for as long as I have been aware of it. So this award could not be more gratifying,” Robinson said in a statement.
Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao added, “With the depth and resonance of her novels, Marilynne Robinson captures the American soul. We are proud to confer this prize on her and her extraordinary work.”
Previous female winners of the award include Louise Erdrich in 2015, Toni Morrison in 2011 and Isabel Allende in 2010, the latter two of which were under its previous name, the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction.
Robinson will receive the award during the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival on September 24 in Washington, D.C.
[via Press materials]