Don DeLillo receives the first Library Of Congress Fiction Prize at the 2013 National Book Festival
Dr. James H. Billington, 13th Librarian of the United States Congress, kicked-off the 2013 National Book Festival, the 13th consecutive year of this major event on the National Mall, with a presentation of the first Library Of Congress Fiction Prize to award-winning, bestselling author Don DeLillo and then handed the microphone over to Washington Post book critic and acclaimed author Marie Arana, for an interview with the rarely sighted DeLillo, which began with DeLillo tracing his first novel, Americana, published in 1971 and revised in 1989, to his 'Italian Bronx' childhood roots. Arana then asked DeLillo about his odd jobs as an advertising copywriter and playground authority while a struggling young writer in New York City. The author of sixteen novels, includingthe widely celebrated works The Names, White Noise, Libra, Mao II, and Underworld,as well as short stories, plays, screen plays, and significant essays, DeLillo described his work as a blend of music, image, and word-by-word construction and listed the major influences on his fiction as jazz, movies, and the assassination of JFK. DeLillo wrapped his appearance with reflections on the challenges of writing fiction in a world made smaller, or more narrow, by technology, before taking two questions from the audience on the 'stress, strain, and pain' of writing Underworld every minute of the five years it took to write; and the future of book publishing and reading.
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