Simon Schama to Receive 2011 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement

Coverage of the 2011 event with photos from Bloomberg News here:

The Kenyon Review has selected historian, essayist and critic Simon Schama as the winner of the 2011 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.
Schama will accept the Kenyon Review award at a gala benefit dinner in New York City on Nov. 3 and will visit Kenyon College on Nov. 5 to deliver the keynote address at the fifth annual Kenyon Review Literary Festival.

“Simon Schama is a literary writer of the first rank,” said KR Editor David Lynn. “Widely known for his magnificent volumes of history, such as Rough Crossings: Britain, The Slaves, and the American Revolution, and his art criticism and art history, such as Rembrandt’s Eyes, he is also the author of boundary-exploding narratives such as Dead Certainties: Unwarranted Speculations. We are pleased and proud to honor a writer of such extraordinary and wide-ranging talents.”

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. He is the author of fifteen books, including Patriots and Liberators: Revolution and Government in the Netherlands 1780-1813 (1977); Two Rothschilds and the Land of Israel (1979); The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (1987); Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989); Landscape and Memory (1995); Rembrandt’s Eyes (1999); the History of Britain trilogy (2000-2002); Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution (2006); The Power of Art (2007); The American Future: A History (2009); and Scribble, Scribble, Scribble: Writing on Politics, Ice Cream, Churchill and My Mother (2010). His books have won the Wolfson Award for History, the W.H Smith Prize for Literature; the Lionel Trilling Book Award, the National Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Non-Fiction. He has been an essayist and critic for The New Yorker since 1994, winning the National Magazine Award for his art criticism in 1996.

Schama has also reached television audiences as a writer and host for cultural programs on the BBC and PBS. His television productions include two films on Rembrandt; a five part series based on Landscape and Memory, the award-winning, Emmy-nominated A History of Britain; a film on Tolstoy; a ninety minute adaptation of Rough Crossings, and the eight-part Power of Art. His work on a four part series for BBC and PBS, “The American Future: A History” aired during the presidential election season in 2008, followed by “Obama’s America,” a two part exploration the crucial issues and challenges that faced Barack Obama when he took office, which aired on the BBC in 2009.

The Kenyon Review prize honors careers of extraordinary achievement, recognizing writers whose influence and importance have shaped the American literary landscape. Schama joins a list of literary luminaries in receiving the award. Previous winners include, in reverse order, W.S. Merwin, Louise Erdrich, Richard Ford, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Roger Angell and Umberto Eco, Seamus Heaney, Joyce Carol Oates, and E.L. Doctorow.

The literary festival is a two-day celebration of literature, featuring readings, workshops, and a book sale. The festival is preceded by a community-wide reading and discussion program built around one of the author’s works.

Photo of Simon Schama by Charlie Bibby.

For more information about the 2011 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, please email KR.