Roger Angell and Umberto Eco

The Board of Trustees of the Kenyon Review is pleased to honor Roger Angell and Umberto Eco as the 2005 recipients of the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. Angell is recognized for his outstanding contributions to American literature—from his own lyrical sportswriting to nurturing literary excellence as a fiction editor at The New Yorker. Eco, the Italian novelist, philosopher, and historian, receives a special international award for his masterful and richly rewarding fiction.

About Roger Angell

An essayist and fiction editor for the New Yorker, Roger Angell’s meditative essays on baseball have earned him the reputation as one of the greatest sportswriters of all time. The New York Times Book Review compared the experience of reading Angell to “watching a game unfold in its own good time over a long afternoon, hoping it will go into extra innings and last until sundown.” Known for reporting as a fan as well as a member of the press, he elevates writing about sports to an art form. The editors of the New York Review of Books praised Angell’s collection The Summer Game (1972), for its “searching for the Higher Game, the cosmology behind each pitch, each swing, each ‘shared joy and ridiculous hope’ of summer’s long adventure.” Angell’s other books on the national pastime include Late Innings (1982), Season Ticket (1983), Five Seasons (1988), Once More Around the Park (1991) and Game Time (2003). He is the author of the introduction to the latest edition of The Elements of Style, a guide to writing by William Strunk and E.B. White, Angell’s stepfather. His own collection of fiction, The Stone Arbor and Other Stories, was published in 1960.

About Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco (born 1932) is a best-selling author of mystery novels that reflect his many intellectual interests and wide-ranging knowledge of philosophy, literature, medieval history, religion, and politics.

Eco was born in a small town in northwest Italy, the only son of an accountant. When World War II broke out, his family fled to the country to escape the bombing. There he observed conflicts between the Fascists and the partisans and experienced wartime deprivations that would later become a part of his second novel, Foucault’s Pendulum (trans., 1988)— known as “the thinking man’s The DaVinci Code.”

His first novel, Il nome della rosa (1980, The Name of the Rose), an intellectual detective story, achieved instant fame, and attracted much critical attention; it was made into a movie starring Sean Conner. Later novels are L’isola del giorno prima (1995, The Island of the Day Before), Baudolino (2002), and, most recently, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (2005).

In addition to his novels, Eco has written extensively on philosophy, semiotics, linguistics, aesthetics, and morality. Upon publishing How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays, the Los Angeles Times referred to Eco as “the Andy Rooney of academia.”

Eco has taught semiotics at the University of Bologna for many years. He is also known as an expert on the subject of 007, which adds him to the worldwide group of bondologs (“Bondologists,” the Scandinavian expression for an expert in the field of James Bond).

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