Tom Wolfe, whose books have won both critical acclaim and commercial success, has been named the winner of the National Book Foundation’s 2010 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. The NBF called Wolfe a leader in experimental literary nonfiction; his The Right Stuff won the 1983 National Book Award for general nonfiction. One of Wolfe’s three novels, A Man in Full, released in 1998, was an NBA finalist in fiction.

Wolfe will receive the award at the National Book Awards ceremony set for November 17 in New York. Also on that day, Joan Ganz Cooney, one of founders of the Children’s Television Workshop (now known as the Sesame Workshop) will be presented with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. CTW was the driving force behind Sesame Street and other shows that the NBF said helped to encourage children to read at an early age.