November 17

This Day in History

Literary

Nov 17, 1993:

The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx, wins the National Book Award

On this day in 1993, Annie Proulx wins the National Book Award for her novel The Shipping News.

Proulx was born in 1935 in Norwich, Connecticut. Her mother was a painter and her father an executive in a textile company.

Annie lived in various towns in New England and in North Carolina during her childhood and wrote her first short story at age 10 when she was home sick with the chicken pox. In college, she majored in history and later worked toward a doctorate. However, she abandoned academia to make her living writing magazine articles and how-to books for nearly 20 years. She married and divorced three times, raised three sons as a single mother, and still found time to write and publish a few short stories every year.

Her first collection of short stories, Heart Songs and Other Stories, was published in 1988. Her first novel, Postcards (1992), won the PEN/Faulkner award. Her second novel, The Shipping News, about an out-of-luck journalist and father who rebuilds his life after moving to Newfoundland, won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award. Her short story collection Close Range was published in 1999.

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