WASHINGTON (February 23, 2006)--Tom Wolfe, the celebrated novelist and chronicler of American society, will deliver the 2006 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today. The annual NEH-sponsored Jefferson Lecture is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.
"From his earliest days as a journalist through a long history of successful nonfiction books and novels, Tom Wolfe has entertained and enlightened readers with his meticulously researched commentary on the American scene," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "His skill as a literary stylist has influenced our language. He has documented our culture, and, through his journalism and fiction, shaped the American identity."
Wolfe will present the 35th Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on Wednesday, May 10, 2006, at 7 p.m. at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. The lectureship carries a $10,000 honorarium.
A pioneer of the "New Journalism" and an astute observer of American manners and mores, Wolfe has combined an energetic literary style with the rigor and detail of fine reporting. His most recent work of fiction, I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004), draws on the author's extensive observation of college life in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century.
His other novels include A Man in Full (1998) and The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), which originally appeared in serial form in Rolling Stone.
Other major works include Hooking Up (2000), a collection of fiction and non-fiction concerning the turn of the new century; The Right Stuff (1979), Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (1970), The Pump House Gang (1968), The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965). Wolfe's provocative works on art and architecture have been published in The Painted Word (1972) and From Bauhaus to Our House (1981).
Wolfe's professional writing career began in December 1956 when he took a job as a reporter on the Springfield (Mass.) Union. He spent most of his 10-year newspaper career as a general assignment reporter. For six months in 1960 he served as The Washington Post's Latin American correspondent and won the Washington Newspaper Guild's foreign news prize for his coverage of Cuba. Wolfe was born and raised in Richmond, Va., and was educated at Washington and Lee (B.A., 1951) and Yale (Ph.D., American studies, 1957) Universities. He lives in New York City with his wife, Sheila; his daughter, Alexandra; and his son, Tommy.
Attendance at the lecture is by invitation and free. Those interested in receiving an invitation should call 202-606-8400 or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.