Whiting, Booker and Pegasus Awards Honor Writers, Poets

From Staff and Wire Reports

Ten poets, novelists and nonfiction writers were named recipients Thursday of the $25,000 Whiting Writers’ Award.

In addition, an Australian and a Chinese writer have been named recipients of two other major literary awards, the Booker Prize and the Pegasus Prize.

This year’s Whiting winners are: poet Michael Burkard of Rome, N.Y.; short-story writer Lydia Davis of Kingston, N.Y.; novelist Bruce Duffy of Takoma Park, Md.; Gerald Early, an essayist and professor at Washington University in St. Louis; and Jonathan Franzen, who is writing fiction in Spain.

Also: Mary La Chapelle, a short-story writer who lives in Minneapolis; Li-Young Lee, a poet who teaches at Northwestern University; Sylvia Moss, a poet of Larchmont, N.Y.; social historian Geoffrey O’Brien of New York; and William T. Vollmann, a novelist and short story writer who lives in New York.


The awards are administered by the Whiting Foundation, which was established in 1963 by Mrs. Giles Whiting, a leading cultural figure in the New York area who died in 1971.

The Pegasus Prize carries a far smaller purse but is significant because an otherwise unknown book will be published in the United States. It was presented Wednesday in Beijing to 36-year-old Jia Pingwa.

Jia was selected for his 1987 novel “Turbulence,” which centers on village life in China after a period of dramatic change. He will receive $2,500 and his book will be issued in this country in 1990 by Louisiana State University Press. The award is sponsored by the Mobil Corp.

In London, Australian novelist Peter Carey was awarded the coveted Booker Prize for fiction for his love story, “Oscar and Lucinda.” A panel of five judges unanimously announced the award of $26,250 after an 80-minute deliberation Tuesday night.