On August 18, 2008, the Library of Congress announced the awarding of the Library of Congress Lifetime Achievement Award for the Writing of Fiction to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington offered the following remarks on Wouk's award:
“Herman Wouk’s work epitomizes the historical novel and its ability to transcend its time and place to achieve universality in character and themes. Herman is a longtime supporter of the Library who has honored us with his presence on many occasions, and he was among the first group of recipients, during our bicentennial in 2000, of our Living Legend Award.”
Herman Wouk received the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award for the Writing of Fiction from the Librarian of Congress in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress's Jefferson Building on September 5, 2008. [View recording of award ceremony.]
Since 2008, the Library of Congress has awarded a prize to distinguished writers of fiction. The Library of Congress Lifetime Achievement Award for the Writing of Fiction was created to honor a career dedicated to the literary arts. This award was first presented to Herman Wouk on Sept. 10, 2008. This inaugural award has inspired subsequent Library of Congress fiction awards, given in connection with the Library’s annual National Book Festival.
From 2009 to 2012, the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for fiction was presented to John Grisham, Isabel Allende, Toni Morrison and Philip Roth. Beginning in 2013, the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction has been presented to an author for a body of extraordinary work. Recipients have included Philip Roth, Don DeLillo, E.L. Doctorow, Louise Erdrich, Marilynne Robinson, Denis Johnson, E. Annie Proulx, Richard Ford and Colson Whitehead.
The annual Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction is meant to honor 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 about the American experience.