Francine Prose

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Francine Prose
Francine Prose BBF 2010 Shankbone.jpg
Prose at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival
Born (1947-04-01) April 1, 1947 (age 71)
Brooklyn, New York
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Genre Novels, short stories, nonfiction

Francine Prose (born April 1, 1947) is an American writer of novels, non-fiction books, and short story collections. She is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College, and was formerly president of PEN American Center.

Life and career

Born in Brooklyn, Prose graduated from Radcliffe College in 1968. She received the PEN Translation Prize in 1988 and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1991. Prose's novel The Glorious Ones has been adapted into a musical with the same title by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. It ran at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City in the fall of 2007.

In March 2007, Prose was chosen to succeed American writer Ron Chernow beginning in April to serve a one-year term as president of PEN American Center,[1][2] a New York City-based literary society of writers, editors and translators that works to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship. In March 2008, Prose ran unopposed for a second one-year term as PEN American Center president.[3] That same month, London artist Sebastian Horsley had been denied entry into the United States and PEN president Prose subsequently invited Horsley to speak at PENs annual festival of international literature in New York at the end of April 2008.[4] Prose was succeeded by philosopher and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah as president of PEN in April 2009.[5][6]

Prose sat on the board of judges for the PEN/Newman's Own Award. Her novel, Blue Angel, a satire about sexual harassment on college campuses, was a finalist for the National Book Award. One of her novels, Household Saints, was adapted for a movie by Nancy Savoca.

Prose received the Rome Prize in 2006.[7]

American PEN criticism

During the 2015 controversy regarding American PEN's decision to honor Charlie Hebdo with its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award, she, alongside Michael Ondaatje, Teju Cole, Peter Carey, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi, withdrew from the group's annual awards gala and signed a letter dissociating themselves from the award, stating that although the murders were "sickening and tragic", they did not believe that Charlie Hebdo's work deserved an award.[8][9] The letter was soon co-signed by more than 140 other PEN members.[10] Francine Prose published an article in The Guardian justifying her position, stating that: "the narrative of the Charlie Hebdo murders – white Europeans killed in their offices by Muslim extremists – is one that feeds neatly into the cultural prejudices".[11] Prose was criticized for her views by Katha Pollitt,[12] Alex Massie,[13] Michael C. Moynihan,[14] Nick Cohen[15] and others, most notably by Salman Rushdie, who in a letter to PEN described Prose and the five other authors who withdrew, as fellow travellers of "fanatical Islam, which is highly organised, well funded, and which seeks to terrify us all, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, into a cowed silence".[16]



Short story collections

Children's picture books


Book reviews

  • April 17, 2005: "'The Peabody Sisters': Reflected Glory": The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism, by Megan Marshall, Houghton Mifflin (ISBN 0-395-38992-5)
  • May 22, 2005: "'Oh the Glory of It All': Poor Little Rich Boy": Oh the Glory of It All, by Sean Wilsey, Penguin (ISBN 1-59420-051-3)
  • June 12, 2005: "'Marriage, a History': Lithuanians and Letts Do It", Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, Or How Love Conquered Marriage, by Stephanie Coontz, Viking (ISBN 0-670-03407-X)
  • August 14, 2005: "'Eudora Welty': Not Just at the P.O.", New York Times: Eudora Welty: A Biography, by Suzanne Marrs, Harcourt Trade (ISBN 0-15-100914-7)
  • December 4, 2005: "Slayer of Taboos", New York Times: D. H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider, by John Worthen, Basic Books (ISBN 1-58243-341-0)
  • April 2, 2006: "Science Fiction", New York Times: The Book About Blanche and Marie, by Per Olov Enquist, Translated by Tiina Nunnally, Overlook (ISBN 1-58567-668-3)
  • July 9, 2006: "The Folklore of Exile", New York Times: Last Evenings on Earth, by Roberto Bolaño, Translated by Chris Andrews, New Directions (ISBN 0-8112-1634-9)
  • December 2008: "More is More: Roberto Bolaño's Magnum Opus", Harper's Magazine: 2666, by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (ISBN 0-374-10014-4)
  • December/January 2010: "Altar Ego", Bookforum: Ayn Rand and the World She Made, by Anne C. Heller, Nan A. Talese (ISBN 978-0-385-51399-9)


  1. "People", Publishers Weekly, 254 (13), p. 16, March 26, 2007, retrieved January 15, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Author Philip Roth wins Saul Bellow Award", USA Today, April 1, 2007, retrieved January 15, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Hillel Italie (March 9, 2008), "Prose to Serve 2nd Term PEN Leader", Associated Press, retrieved January 15, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Motoko Rich (April 2, 2008), "Pen Rallies Behind Ousted Author", The New York Times, p. E2, retrieved January 15, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Hillel Italie (March 13, 2009), "Appiah to be next president of writers group", Associated Press, retrieved January 15, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Francine Prose (January 14, 2014). "How Have Tools Like Google and YouTube Changed the Way You Work?". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Society of Fellows – Member Directory", American Academy in Rome
  8. "Read the Letters and Comments of PEN Writers Protesting the Charlie Hebdo Award". 2015-04-27. Retrieved 2015-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Boris Kachka. "How and Why 35 Writers Denounced PEN". Vulture. Retrieved 2015-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "204 PEN Writers (Thus Far) Have Objected to the Charlie Hebdo Award - Not Just 6". 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2015-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "I admire Charlie Hebdo's courage. But it does not deserve a PEN award" by Francine Prose, The Guardian, 28 April 2015
  12. Nichols, John (2015-04-30). "Charlie Hebdo Deserves Its Award for Courage in Free Expression. Here's Why". The Nation. Retrieved 2015-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Francine Prose reminds us why so many novelists are so very, very stupid - Spectator Blogs". 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2015-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Michael Moynihan. "America's Literary Elite Takes a Bold Stand Against Dead Journalists". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2015-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Nick Cohen (2015-05-01). "Charlie Hebdo and the literary indulgence of murder | Nick Cohen: Writing from London". Retrieved 2015-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Alison Flood (2015-04-27). "Charlie Hebdo row leads to Facebook fallout between Salman Rushdie and Francine Prose". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Peggy Guggenheim – The Shock of the Modern, Yale University Press

Further reading

External links