The Library of Congress Lifetime Achievement Award for the Writing of Fiction was established in 2008 to honor a career dedicated to the literary arts. The award recognizes the enduring achievements of its recipient and his or her dedication to embodying the human spirit in the pages of fiction.
This award was first presented to Herman Wouk on Sept. 10, 2008, during a ceremony sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium. In making his presentation, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced that the award would hereafter be named for Herman Wouk. “Herman Wouk’s work epitomizes the historical novel and its ability to transcend its time and place to achieve universality in character and themes,” said Billington. “Herman is a longtime supporter of the Library who has honored us with his presence on many occasions, and he was among the first group of recipients, during our bicentennial in 2000, of our Living Legend Award.”
During the ceremony, Billington also announced that Wouk had donated 92 volumes of his personal journals dating from the 1930s to the present, the manuscripts of five recent books, correspondence, tapes, posters and photographs, making the Library of Congress the premier repository of Herman Wouk’s work. The Library already held the manuscripts to five Wouk novels, including “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance.”