Stephen King Awarded National Book Foundation Medal

11-22-03 Keavin
The King of Horror was honored by The National Book Foundation last week. The literary organization awarded the prolific horror writer Stephen King its most sought after honor, the 2003 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Some stuffed shirts and nose in the sky members of the New York literary community are not too pleased with King receiving the honor. 

During his keynote address on Wednesday night at the awards ceremony, King acknowledges his wife Tabitha’s contribution to his success and also took on the critics who feel that he was unworthy of the same honor bestowed upon authors like Arthur Miller, John Updike and Saul Bellow. 

King was honored to receive medal and said that it was "a terrific award, but I know it's not for a book I wrote. It's for being Stephen King."

He also took aim at the literary elitist that "make it a point of pride" to proclaim that they've never read modern best-selling authors such as John Grisham, Tom Clancy or Mary Higgins Clark. "Do you think you get social brownie points for staying out of touch with our culture?" he asked.

He called upon that very same elite to "build bridges between the so-called popular fiction and the so-called literary fiction."

He acknowledged that not all of his work could be considered “literature” 

"Some are entertainment; some are literature," he said. "Just don't ask me to define literature."

King, who was suffering from a bout with pneumonia made a point of acknowledge his wife’s contribution to his success. She was credited with pulling the manuscript for “Carrie” (King’s first novel) out of a garbage can and King spoke of her encouragement in the early years for him to keep writing and achieved his dream. 

The audience gave King a standing ovation when he completed his address.