The National Book Foundation has announced that novelist Joan Didion and radio host Terry Gross will be honored at the National Book Awards ceremony on November 14, which will be hosted by writer and humorist Fran Lebowitz. Didion, who won the National Book Award in 2005 for her last book, The Year of Magical Thinking, will be presented with the 2007 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham. Radio host and producer Ira Glass will be presenting the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to Terry Gross, host and producer of National Public Radio's Fresh Air.
Regarding the selection of the honorees, Executive director Harold Augenbraum stated, "These two women are icons in the literary world and their contributions are now legendary…. Both women are fearless in their questioning and their insights on the page and on the air have informed our understanding of America and of America's writers for decades."
The twenty finalists for the 2007 National Book Awards will be announced by Camille Paglia on October 10. The award categories are: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The National Book Foundation has been recognizing contributions to American literature for over fifty years. This will be the eleventh ceremony since the awards were organized in their current form, with the emphasis on them being given by writers to writers.