An Iowa author has been invited to the White House next week, to receive a National Humanities Medal.
Marilynne Robinson, who lives in Iowa City and is a professor at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, won the Nobel Prize in 2005 for her novel “Gilead.” Her first book, published in 1980, was titled “Housekeeping” and it won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for best first novel.
The president and first lady are scheduled to attend the White House ceremony for all this year’s winners of the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal for the Arts. Writer Joan Didion, musician Herb Alpert, sportswriter Frank Deford, filmmaker George Lucas and Tony Kushne — author of the screenplay for the recent “Lincoln” movie — are among the others to be honored along with Robinson.
The citation that will be read for Robinson at the White House ceremony says Robinson’s writing illustrates the “moral strength and lyrical clarity” of the “world we inhabit.” Most of Robinson’s work has been in non-fiction. She’s written three novels. Her most recent — “Home” — was published in 2008 and received the Orange Prize for Fiction, one of Great Britian’s highest awards for female authors.