When one thinks of this prestigious award, what comes to mind are contemporary literary giants – Updike, Doctorow, Roth – all men of course. In fact, since 1981, only four women have won the Pen Faulkner award. So it’s a joy to see Kate Christensen win for her novel, The Great Man, a book that celebrates older women’s sexuality. Christensen was asked whether she set out to write a "sexy" novel about women in the 70s;

"I did! I set out to allow my characters, women in their 70s and 80s, a kind of frank sexuality I haven’t seen much in “older” women in literature. All of these women think of themselves as old. None of them are trying to be 25,” says Christensen, who is 45, and dedicated the book to her own mother, who fell madly in love in her late 60s. “But they are all kind of lusty. So many older women in literature are portrayed like old birds — twittering, naïve, sexless, peripheral to any action. They are always the grandmother, or the doddering neighbor.”

So congratulations to Kate! And a nod to PEN for its good taste this year.

-Elaine L.

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