Washington -- Literature poked its high-brow head into the middle-brow milieu of the nation's capital Saturday evening for the 12th annual presentation of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, which this year went to Don DeLillo for his novel "Mao II," a less than lighthearted tale that deals with mass Moonie weddings and terrorist kidnappings.
National Public Radio's Susan Stamberg, mistress of ceremonies for the event, tried to set a politically correct feminist tone for the proceedings, describing herself as "Person of Ceremonies," adding after a pause, "P.C."
The five nominees all read from their works. Mr. DeLillo, Stephen Dixon ("Frog"), Paul Gervais ("Extraordinary People") and Bradford Morrow ("The Almanac Branch") all looked like literary writers. Finalist Allan Gurganus ("White People"), a long-haired, mustachioed Southern gentleman, looked like the way Nathaniel Hawthorne would have had he worn white shoes, a beige suit, a bow tie and a flower in his lapel.
Mr. DeLillo was awarded $7,500 for first place; the others, $2,500.