The University of Iowa

Marilynne Robinson Honored By White House

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa Writers' Workshop professor Marilynne Robinson will be awarded the 2012 National Humanities Medal in a ceremony next week.

Robinson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, is among 12 people set to be honored on July 10 by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House.

Robinson has been teaching at the University of Iowa for more than two decades. Her novel "Gilead" won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.

The White House said Robinson was selected for the medal for her grace and intelligence in writing.

"This recognition speaks to her stature as an educator and author, and we are proud to call her one of our very own," University of Iowa President Sally Mason said of Robinson. "This is an extremely high honor. These medals are our national version of a Nobel prize."

Robinson grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho, and received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington in 1977.

Her first novel, "Housekeeping," was published in 1980 and was included in The New York Times Books of the Century list and selected as one of the 100 greatest novels of all time by the UK Guardian Observer.

"With moral strength and lyrical clarity, Robinson's novels and nonfiction have traced our ethical connections to people in our lives, explored the world we inhabit, and defined universal truths about what it means to be human," the White House said in a statement announcing the award.

from Iowa City Press-Citizen