Navy Veteran Thomas Pynchon Receiving $100,000 Prize From Arts Academy

Two rare images of reclusive novelist Thomas Pynchon, one from his guest spot on "The Simpsons" and the other from his Navy service days.

NEW YORK (AP) — Thomas Pynchon is receiving a $100,000 prize this spring from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. But that doesn't mean the U.S. Navy veteran will turn up to accept it.

The academy told The Associated Press that the 80-year-old Pynchon has been named the first winner of the Christopher Lightfoot Walker Award, a lifetime achievement honor. Academy executive director Cody Upton said the media-shy author, best known for novels such as "Gravity's Rainbow" and "Mason & Dixon," was aware of the prize. But he isn't expected to attend the May 23 ceremony in New York, when the academy will hand out more than a dozen other awards.

Marlon James, Rick Moody and Mary Gaitskill are among eight writers receiving $10,000 prizes for "exceptional accomplishment in literature." Atticus Lish will be presented a $20,000 award for a writer "whose work merits recognition for the quality of its prose style."

Honorees also include Bill Porter, winner of the $20,000 Thornton Wilder Prize for translation; British author Jon McGregor, whose winning of the E.M. Forster Award in Literature will provide him a $20,000 grant to spend time in the United States; "History of Wolves" author Emily Fridlund, who will be given a $5,000 award for best debut fiction; and Noy Holland, recipient of the $20,000 Katherine Anne Porter Award for "achievements and dedication to the literary profession."

In May, the academy will also formally induct its new members, including the Pulitzer Prize winners Ron Chernow and Jeffrey Eugenides.

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