On May 16, 2019, the Library of Congress announced the awarding of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction to Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Ford. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden offered the following remarks on Ford's award:
He has been called our Babe Ruth of novelists, and there is good reason why. He is quintessentially American, profoundly humane, meticulous in his craft, daring on the field, and he hits is consistently out of the park. We are proud to confer the Library's lifetime award for fiction on this luminous storyteller – one of the most eloquent writers of his generation – Richard Ford.
Richard Ford received the 2019 Prize for American Fiction from the Librarian of Congress during the 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival on August 31, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. [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.