NEW YORK (AP) — Louise Erdrich has won the PEN/Saul Bellow prize, a lifetime achievement honor for American writers that comes with a $25,000 cash award.
The PEN American Center announced the award Tuesday as judges E.L. Doctorow, Zadie Smith and Edwidge Danticat praised the "awesome" breadth of Erdrich's work.
"She is a writer only America could have produced, committed to the extraordinary project of capturing a complex land and a various people in their own voices, and in hers," the citation reads.
Erdrich's novels include "Love Medicine," ''The Plague of Doves" and "The Round House," winner of the National Book Award for fiction in 2012. Her work often draws on her diverse background as the child of a German-American father and a mother who was part French-American, part Ojibwe.
In a recent email to The Associated Press, Erdrich emphasized her admiration for the PEN judges, saying their work "surprised, delighted, challenged and laid ground for so many other writers."
"Getting this award would intimidate the hell out of me if I weren't so excited," added Erdrich, 59, who will be presented with the prize Sept. 29 at a ceremony in Manhattan.
Previous winners of the PEN/Bellow award, given out biannually, include Doctorow and Philip Roth. The prize is named for the late Nobel laureate, whose fiction included "Herzog" and "The Adventures of Augie March."