University of Rochester

Joanna Scott Wins English-Speaking Union's Ambassador Book Award

May 16, 2006

Joanna Scott
Professor Joanna Scott (PHOTO CREDIT: University of Rochester)
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Author Joanna Scott has received the Ambassador Book Award for Fiction for her most recent novel, Liberation. The award, presented by the English-Speaking Union of the United States, is given annually to authors whose works make an outstanding contribution to interpreting the life and culture of the United States to other English-speaking people.

Scott, who is the Roswell S. Burrows Professor of English at the University of Rochester, has consistently earned critical acclaim for her vivid prose, insights into human behavior and relationships, and lush descriptions. In Liberation, Scott traces the story of Adriana Nardi, who played a pivotal role in her previous novel Tourmaline. Now a 70-year-old woman, married and living in the United States, Adriana loses herself in memories of her girlhood on Elba and her attachment to an AWOL African soldier.

A member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Scott is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction.

Tourmaline was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the fiction category. Scott's other novels are The Manikin, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1997; Arrogance, which received the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, the Lillian Fairchild Award, and a nomination for the PEN/Faulkner Award; Make Believe; The Closest Possible Union; and Fading, My Parmacheene Belle. In addition, she has published a collection of short stories, Various Antidotes, which was also a PEN/Faulkner Award nominee.

The English-Speaking Union of the United States is an educational organization that promotes scholarship and global understanding through the widening use of the English language throughout the world. The group's Ambassador Book Awards, which are decided by a committee of writers, editors, and former publishers, are presented in the categories of poetry, fiction, biography and autobiography, and American studies. Copies of the winning books are sent to the international branches of the English-Speaking Union located in 52 nations around the world. This year's awards will be presented in a ceremony in New York City on June 15. Previous winners in the fiction category have included Grace Paley, John Updike, Philip Roth, and Annie Proulx.