New York is a work of imagination and always has been. Writers, some of them famous, most of them obscure, come to New York to examine the human condition, to find inspiration, to seek out like-minded souls who share their aspirations and, yes, their suffering as well.
Given the city’s place as an incubator of literacy and literature, you might assume that New York’s municipal leaders regularly celebrated the authors and works that have made New York a destination of choice for writers and a setting for memorable works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. If you did make that assumption, well, you’re wrong. Until now, that is.
The NYC Literary Honors, a program designed to celebrate writers who have incorporated the city into their works, will be conferred for the first time this week. The prizes are the brainchild of the Bloomberg administration, and the Mayor himself decided on the honorees, who include Paul Auster, Robert Caro, Walter Dean Myers, Roz Chast and Marie Ponsot, among others.
It is only right that a city which looms so large in American letters, which is home to writers, editors and publishers who cling stubbornly to the power and dignity of the written work, should celebrate great literary lions. For they have made New York what it is—a leading character in the canon of world literature.
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