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PEN Honors Southland Writers : Local Group Also Fetes Two of Its Foreign Colleagues

April 28, 1986

Nine Southern California writers were honored by their colleagues Friday night at the Beverly Hills Hotel as the Los Angeles Center of PEN, an international association of writers and editors, presented awards for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children's literature. In addition, two writers who had been imprisoned by the Cuban and Philippine governments received awards.

Norman Corwin, whose most recent work--"Trivializing America"--is about the cheapening of American culture, received the Body of Work award recognizing his long career, which has included journalism, radio, theater and television as well as books.

John Sanford received the nonfiction award for his "The Color of the Air: Scenes From the Life of an American Jew." It was the first award ever for the 81-year-old Sanford, who has been writing for 50 years and was once hailed by a critic as "the greatest living prose stylist."

A special achievement award in nonfiction also went to Lawrence Grobell for "Conversations With Capote," a book about the late novelist Truman Capote.

In fiction, Robert Ward, a writer for the television series "Hill Street Blues," won for his novel, "Red Baker," about unemployed steel workers. The special achievement fiction award went to Dan McCall for the novel "Queen of Hearts."

John Reynolds Gardiner, who works full-time as an engineer with an aerospace firm, won the award for older children's literature for "Top Secret" while Lael Littke received the special achievement award for "Shanny on Her Own."

In the younger children's category, Audrey Wood won for "King Bidgood's in the Bathtub." The special achievement award went to Caroline Arnold for "Saving the Peregrine Falcon."

The two foreign writers honored were Cuban Angel Cuadra and Filipino Mila Aguilar. When the two were imprisoned, the Los Angeles Center sought to bring pressure for their release. Both are now free. Aguilar was released from jail when the Marcos government was overthrown earlier this year.

Los Angeles TV station KCBS received a plaque for adding book reviews to its programming.

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