Tuesday, May 04, 2004

PEN Awards 

I was just about to do some long rant about the award winners of the PEN Scholarships, but frankly, Ed sums it up rather nicely:

Starving writers let loose a collective cry of anguish as PEN awarded extra cash to those who didn't need it. Two year scholarships at $35,000/year have been granted to rich literary darling Jonathan Safran Foer, Will Heinrich and Monique Truong. Also rolling in the dough is poet laureate Robert Pinsky, who has reportedly been planning an east wing extension to his house.

Granted, it's oh so easy to pick on Jon Foer (especially when some people do it over and over again), but is it really necessary to award scholarships to those in possession of six-figure Bonus Baby book deals? I mean, didn't anyone learn their lesson after the brouhahas involving Rick Moody (Guggenheim) and Jonathan Franzen (NEA)? There is the issue of lead time and consideration, but Foer's novel has been out for 2 years--presumably longer than the length of time from the beginning of the application process until now.

Never mind that by picking Foer, PEN has pretty much attached a "KICK ME" sign to the back of their collective rear ends. So once again: was that trip really necessary?

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