Marilynne Robinson, the acclaimed author of Housekeeping and Gilead, has won the 2016 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. In an interview following the announcement, Robinson expressed her love of classic writers – as well as her distaste for certain contemporary politicians.
In addition to her novels, Robinson is known for her long tenure at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, the most prestigious writing MFA program in the country. The Library of Congress Prize is just the latest in a long line of accolades Robinson has earned: she’s also received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award (both for 2004’s Gilead).
Robinson told the Washington Post that she’s “awfully happy” to win the award, particularly because it puts her in the company of the great American writers she admires. “The writers that have always been most influential to me have been early American writers such as Walt Whitman and Melville,” Robinson explained. “So I really feel very much indebted to them and happy to be associated with them.”
The Washington Post interview also touched on politics – Robinson revealed that she is a Hillary Clinton supporter, though it “wouldn’t break [her] heart” if Bernie Sanders won instead. She also expressed concern for the current state of politics. “These people who are stirring all this ire directed at immigrants and Muslim communities are very, very disturbing to me,” Robinson said – an apparent shot at Donald Trump, who hasn’t been faring too well in literary circles lately.
Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao will present Robinson with her award in person at the 16th annual National Book Festival in Washington, DC on September 24th.