Novelist Don DeLillo has become the first American to win the Jerusalem Prize, a prestigious international literary award given to a writer "whose work expresses the theme of the freedom of the individual in society." Previous winners include Milan Kundera, V.S. Naipaul, and Graham Greene.
DeLillo's work, which includes novels, essays, and plays, reflects his "commitment to expose, through his daring writing, the violent face of the Western world at the end of the century," the awards committee wrote. His tools of criticism are irony and sarcastic humor. DeLillo is to receive the award on June 23 from Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, at the Jerusalem International Book Fair.
His last novel, the sweeping and surreal "Underworld" (Scribner 1997), described decades of US culture during the cold war.