In an unusual move, the Lannan Foundation, an arts and culture foundation known for sizable financial grants to writers, announced that, after awarding its annual $200,000 lifetime achievement award to poet Robert Creeley in September, it is awarding a second $200,000 lifetime achievement award to scholar, critic, author and controversial Palestinian spokesperson Edward Said. His most recent book, Power, Politics and Culture: Interviews with Edward Said, was released in August by Knopf.
Janet Voorhees, executive director of projects for the Lannan Foundation, told PW that this was the first time two such awards have been presented in one year. She said giving the award to Said had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks, Said's prominence in Middle Eastern affairs or Said's health (he suffers from leukemia). "We did it because we could do it," Voorhees said. She noted that the foundation has had an "ongoing relationship" with Said, who has organized a literary symposium of Western and Arab writers that will be held at Columbia University in New York City April 17-19, 2002. The event is cosponsored by Columbia University and the Lannan Foundation. Writers attending will include Arthur Miller, Adrienne Rich, Nadine Gordimer, Tariq Ali, Sonallah Ibrahim and Elias Khoury.