Roger Rosenblatt

The Board of Trustees of the Kenyon Review was pleased to honor Roger Rosenblatt as the 2015 recipient of the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. Author of novels, plays, memoirs, and narrative essays, including the award-winning Kayak Morning, and most recently The Book of Love, Rosenblatt is among the most innovative authors of our time. His essays soar with riffs that are by turns playful and majestic. His lyricism, depth of insight, and wise humor animate his prose with singular grace.

About Roger Rosenblatt

rosenblattRoger Rosenblatt is the author of 17 books, five of which have been New York Times Notable Books, and six off-Broadway plays. His one-man show, Free Speech in America, was cited by the Times as one of the ten best plays of 1991.

At age 28, Roger Rosenblatt held the Briggs-Copeland appointment in the teaching of writing at Harvard University, and at 29 was named Master of Dunster House—the youngest House Master in Harvard’s history. In his mid thirties he served as Literary Editor and a columnist at the New Republic, and then as a columnist on the Washington Post, where Washingtonian magazine named him Best Columnist in Washington, and later for Time magazine, where his essays won two George Polk Awards, as well as honors from the Overseas Press Club, the American Bar Association, and others. He gained further renown as the first essayist on the PBS NewsHour, winning both the Peabody and the Emmy awards.

Deciding in 2006 to devote himself to writing memoirs, extended essays and novels, Rosenblatt has produced a steady stream of highly regarded works, including a first novel, Lapham Rising, all of which have been national bestsellers. His memoirs include Making Toast, a powerful meditation on the death of his daughter, which appeared originally as an essay in the New Yorker, which was followed by the lyrical engagement with grief in Kayak Morning.

Unless It Moves the Human Heart, on the art of writing, was also a Times bestseller. An innovative memoir, The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood appeared in 2013. And in 2015 he published The Book of Love: Improvisations on a Crazy Little Thing. His latest novel, Thomas Murphy, to be excerpted in the Kenyon Review, will be published in January 2016.

In his recent books, Rosenblatt has experimented with a form of narrative that connects section to section, without chapter demarcations, dismissing chronological time, and mixing fact and fiction. The effect he seeks is akin to movements in music. In his review of The Boy Detective in the New York Times Book Review, Pete Hamill compared Rosenblatt’s style to that of “a great jazz musician, moving from one emotion to another, playing some with a dose of irony, others with joy, and a few with pain and melancholy (the blues, of course). Alone with the instrument of his art, he seems to be hoping only to surprise himself.”

In 2008 Roger Rosenblatt was appointed Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook University. Seven colleges and universities, including Kenyon College, have awarded him honorary degrees.

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