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Press Release: Prizes and Awards
Center For Fiction Awards Shattuck Prize For Criticism

Posted at 6:13PM Tuesday 17 Apr 2012

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Ruth Franklin and David Yaffe Awarded The Center for Fiction's Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism

April 17, 2012, New York, NY – The Center for Fiction will present the 2012 Roger Shattuck Prizes for Criticism to Ruth Franklin and David Yaffe. The annual Roger Shattuck Prizes for Criticism are devoted to the support and encouragement of emerging critics, and were established in honor of Roger Shattuck, the late distinguished scholar, writer and literary critic. Each year, two deserving critics receive this award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize.

"We are very grateful to the Shattuck family for their generous support of the annual Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism," said Noreen Tomassi, director of The Center for Fiction. "Thanks to their generosity, The Center for Fiction is now home to much of Roger Shattuck's personal library and papers, an archive housed on the sixth floor of our building and open by appointment to scholars and the public."

Ruth Franklin is a literary critic and senior editor at The New Republic, where she has been on staff since 1999. Her first book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, was a finalist for the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature and was cited by The Atlantic as "a towering work of criticism and insight." She has written for many publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, The Washington Post, Slate, Granta, the Jewish Review of Books, and Salmagundi, to which she contributes a regular film column. She is currently at work on a biography of the American writer Shirley Jackson, for which she has just been named a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow.

David Yaffe was born in Dallas, TX and received his B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and his Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing (Princeton, 2006) and Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown (Yale, 2011). He is currently at work on Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, forthcoming). He is a professor of English at Syracuse University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on 20th and 21st Century American fiction, poetry, music, and creative nonfiction. He is a music critic for The Nation and has also written for Harper's, Slate, The New York Times, New York, The Village Voice, The New Republic, Bookforum, The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, and other publications.

Roger Shattuck was one of America's most provocative literary critics, essayists and, for many, the most penetrating interpreter of Proust in our time. His biography of Proust won the National Book Award in 1975; a series of books and articles analyzing Proust's novel became pivotal works for all serious Proust readers. Shattuck taught at Harvard, the University of Texas, the University of Virginia and Boston University, from which he retired in 1997. His primary concern was the state of serious writing about literature. He was a founding member of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics and continued to write reviews and publish well into his retirement. He passed away in December 2005.

The awards will be presented at a free, public event on May 30th at 7pm at The Center for Fiction, 17 E. 47th Street in Manhattan. The evening will feature talks by the winners and a brief moderated conversation on the state and future of criticism, followed by a reception.


The Center for Fiction is the only organization in the U.S. solely devoted to fiction. The Center encourages

people to read and value fiction and to support and celebrate its creation and enjoyment. With all its resources, including an exceptional book collection, beautiful reading room, expanding website, and ever-growing array of creative programs, The Center seeks to serve the reading public, to build a larger audience for fiction, and to create a place where readers and writers can share their passion for literature.

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