DeKalbs Richard Powers has just received the rare
recognition for a novelistthe Pulitzer prize for the best
fiction novel of the year.
His 12th novel, The Overstory, took the coveted
award many authors only dream about. One of his earlier books,
The Echo Maker, had also received a Pulitzer nomination
and for that novel he did win the National Book Award in 2006.
His talent as a writer was pointed out some years ago by
the New York Review of Books when they declared: If Powers
were an American writer of the 19th Century hed probably
be the Herman Melville of Moby Dick. Then they
added: Powers has been astonishing readers with novels
that are sweeping in range, dazzling in technique, and rich in
their exploration of music, art, literature and technology.
Richard Powers shown in photo from his website. He
graduated from DeKalb High School in 1975; came back after college
and wrote his first novel while living in DeKalb. Now he and
his wife live in Tennessee.
Powers answered my query this week asking how he felt about this
honor, saying: Ive had a long career12 books
published over the course of more than a third of a centuryand
Ive enjoyed many wonderful recognitions. This is a special
one. I am so grateful that the Pulitzer Committee chose to recognize
a book that tries to tell a story about how inseparable we humans
really are from the non-human world.
For those who have not read The Overstory his
website describes it this way:
a sweeping, impassioned
work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation
ofand paean tothe natural world. From the [Redwoods]
roots to the crown and back to the seeds, the novel unfolds in
concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum
New York to the late 20th Century Timber Wars of the Pacific
Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside oursvast,
slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and
almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people
who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its
In a phone call to DeKalb High English teacher Joe LoCascio,
he said: The Pulitzer Prize Award to Rick Powers for his
novel brings me enormous satisfaction, but no surprise at all.
When I congratulated Rick for the award, I told him that the
book is simply a national treasure, and that my goal in life
is to live long enough to see him awarded the Nobel Prize for
literature. There is not another serious fiction writer who is
more prolific, more insightful, nor more intellectually demanding
than Richard Powers. He has brought honor to DeKalb, to our nation,
and to his profession. The Pulitzer is the latest testament to
When I first interviewed him a few years ago, Powers credited
LoCascio with providing much of the inspiration for him becoming
a writer and they have remained friends over the years.
Some good news for DeKalb: Powers plans to come to town
September 27 for an appearance at the DeKalb Public Library.
The pubic will be invited and if you bring one of his books he
would most likely be willing to sign it.