The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, has announced that it will award Karen Tei Yamashita with the 2021 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
The Medal recognizes a lifetime of literary achievement. Previous recipients include Walter Mosley, Edmund White, Isabel Allende, Annie Proulx, Robert A. Caro, John Ashbery, Judy Blume, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, E.L. Doctorow, Maxine Hong Kingston, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Elmore Leonard, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and Adrienne Rich.
“A bold and groundbreaking writer, Yamashita’s deeply creative body of work has made an enduring impact on our literary landscape,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “Whether it’s an evocative exploration of cities, collaborative performance productions, or connecting the plots of Jane Austen to Japanese American life, her work reaches across time, country, and culture to offer readers a powerfully complex guide to our world.”