On Winning PEN Award, Delillo Muses on E-Readers

This morning, the PEN American Center announced the winners of its annual literary awards, with top honors going to Don Delillo, David Mamet and this year’s Pulitzer winner Paul Harding.

Mr. Delillo received the career-celebrating Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, which comes with a cash prize of $25,000. Along with the announcement came an interview with the author, where he discusses his victory and thoughts on the current American climate. 

The interviewer asks, somewhat nebulously, for Mr. Delillo’s thoughts on “e-books, blogs, and social media,” which leads the author to speculate that “novels will become user-generated” and designed for an individual at the tap of a button.

He goes on:

Here’s a stray question (or a metaphysical leap): Will language have the same depth and richness in electronic form that it can reach on the printed page? Does the beauty and variability of our language depend to an important degree on the medium that carries the words? Does poetry need paper?

No stranger to conspiracies, Mr. Delillo also weighs in on the various ones now circulating—about the president, or 9/11—saying these beliefs are symbolic and “usable kinds of fiction, a means of protest rising from political, economic, religious, or racial complaints, or just a lousy life in a dying suburb.”

On Winning PEN Award, Delillo Muses on E-Readers