January 21

This Day in History

Also on This Day

Lead Story
President Carter pardons draft dodgers, 1977
American Revolution
Ethan Allen is born, 1738
Automotive
Toyota officially passes GM as planet's biggest car maker, 2009
Civil War
Rebels recapture Sabine Pass, 1863
Cold War
Alger Hiss convicted of perjury, 1950
Crime
Switzer of Our Gang murdered, 1959
Disaster
Ferry sinks off Indonesian coast, 1996
General Interest
King Louis XVI executed, 1793
Vladimir Lenin dies, 1924
Concorde takes off, 1976
Hollywood
Hilary Swank moves on, 1998
Literary
Don DeLillo's White Noise wins the American Book Award, 1985
Music
Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts introduce America to Patsy Cline, 1957
Old West
Gun designer John Browning is born, 1855
Presidential
Carter pardons draft dodgers, 1977
Sports
John McEnroe disqualified from the Australian Open, 1990
Vietnam War
Battle for Khe Sanh begins, 1968
World War I
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin dies, 1924
World War II
General Weygand is born, 1867

Literary

Jan 21, 1985:

Don DeLillo's White Noise wins the American Book Award

On this day in 1985, Don DeLillo wins the American Book Award for his breakthrough novel, White Noise.

Although DeLillo had been publishing novels since 1971, his books had received little attention. White Noise, a semi-satire about a professor of Hitler Studies exposed to an "airborne toxic event," established DeLillo as a leading post-modern novelist, concerned with the dread, paranoia, and malaise lying beneath American popular culture. He published Libra, a fictional portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald, in 1988 and Mao II, about a reclusive writer dragged into international politics and terrorism, in 1991.

In 1997, he published what some considered his masterwork, the 827-page Underworld, a sprawling exploration of America during the Cold War that touches on baseball, Vietnam, serial killings, nuclear weapons, visual art, and more.

DeLillo was born in New York to Italian immigrants in 1936. He grew up in working-class New York and attended Fordham University. He worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency before he became a novelist in his mid-30s. He lived for many years with his wife, a banker, in Toronto before returning to New York, where they now live.

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