Among the twelve cultural figures being honored with National Humanities Medals this year are four Random House authors: Jill Ker Conway, Joan Didion, Robert B. Silvers, and Anna Deavere Smith. Inaugurated in 1997, the National Humanities Medal "honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities." Additionally, Ernest J. Gaines will be one of twelve recipients of a National Medal of Arts, "the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government." Gaines previously received a National Humanities Medal in 2000. President Barack Obama will present this year's medals on July 10th in Washington, D.C. in the East Room of the White House.
In honor of Frank Kafka's 130th birthday Schocken Books has re-released five of Franz Kafka's volumes of letters, out-of-print for over 20 years, now available exclusively in eBook format: Letters to His Father, Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors, Letters to Felice, Letters to Milena, and Letters to Ottla and the Family. Check out Kafka's Facebook page to win a designer-autographed poster of one of these amazing new covers.
Richard Bausch has won the annual 2012 Rea Award for the Short Story. The award, given annually to a living American or Canadian writer for "originality and influence on the [short story] genre," comes with a $30,000 prize. Bausch is the author eight collections of short stories and eleven novels including Peace, Something is Out There, and The Selected Stories of Richard Bausch and has won many honors including the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.