Crime novelist Elmore Leonard will receive
the 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. The National Book Foundation announced that it will present Leonard with the award for his outstanding achievement in fiction writing over the past half a century.
Martin Amis will present the medal to Leonard on Wednesday, November 14th at the
63rd National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at Cipriani, Wall Street, in New York City. The event is being hosted by journalist and actor Faith Salie.
National Book Foundation Executive Director Harold Augenbraum said of the selection, "For a half-century, Elmore Leonard has produced vibrant literary work with an inimitable writing style. We are particularly pleased that as we at the National Book Foundation recognize his achievement, the Library of America—which publishes, and keeps permanently in print, authoritative editions of America's best and most significant writing—has announced that Leonard will join other great American authors in its literary pantheon."
The award was created in 1988 to honor authors with a lifetime of literary achievement. Past recipients include Toni Morrison, John Updike, Gore Vidal, Tom Wolfe and Joan Didion. Leonard will the 25th author to receive the award.
Leonard has racked up enough awards to fill several mantels. He is a
Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, and has won the
Crime Writers' Association's Cartier Diamond Dagger lifetime achievement award (U.K.) and the The Raymond Chandler Award at the Courmayeur Noir In Festival (Italy).
in Italy. He received The F. Scott Fitzgerald Award in 2008 and the PEN Center USA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Library of America will publish a three volume edition of Leonard's crime novels beginning in fall, 2014. In 2008 he received the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award, and in 2009 he received the PEN Center USA's Lifetime Achievement Award.