Thursday, December 7, 2017

Jill Krementz covers The Center for Fiction's annual Awards Dinner

Rachel Cobb and her husband, Morgan Entrekin.
The Center for Fiction
Annual Benefit & Awards Dinner
The Metropolitan Club
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I photographed my husband Kurt Vonnegut on January 30, 1979 — the day he finished writing his novel, Jailbird, subsequently edited by Morgan Entrekin.  This was pre-computer when Kurt used scotch tape to help with the continunity of his manuscript.
The annual dinner hosted by The Center for Fiction was held, as usual, at The Metropolitan Club. Morgan Entrekin, the Publisher and CEO of Grove/Atlantic was honored with the Maxwell E. Perkins award and Julie Lekstrom Himes was the winner of this year’s best first novel, Mikhail and Margarita, published by Europa Editions.

The Master of Cermonies for the evening was humorist P.J. O’Rourke. Grove/Atlantic’s author Francesco Goldman flew up from Mexico City to present Morgan’s award to him, and Kia Corthron announced that Julie Lekstrom Himes was the fiction winner, a secret until the end of the evening.

Among the guests were co-chairs Salman Rushdie and Jacqueline Woodson, Roxanna Robinson, Nan Graham,  Nick McDonell and his father, Terry McDonell, Michael Kimmelman, Jacqueline Woodson, Rivka Galcen, Gary Fisketjon, Ron Chernow, A.M. Homes, and of course Rachel Cobb, who is Morgan’s wife. 

I was particularly happy to be at one of Morgan’s tables as my husband Kurt Vonnegut was edited by a 23-year-old Morgan many years ago.  The book was Jailbird.
Francisco Goldman working on his speech.

Master of Ceremonies P.J. O'Rourke and Morgan Entrekin.

Mr. O'Rourke concluded his welcoming talk with the accolade: "Morgan has sacrificed his liver for literature."
Jacqueline Woodson, a co-chair of the evening as well as the winner of the 2014 National Book Award with her memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming.
Jacqueline Woodson takes a selfie of Morgan’s sister Mary Agee and Susan Sawyers.
Steve Kroft, Martin Amis, and Jennet Conant. Best selling biographer Ron Chernow.
Novelist Rivka Galchen. Dr. Charles Sawyers (Morgan’s cousin) and behind him, Scribner’s Nan Graham.
Michael Kimmelman and Elizabeth Ruge. Literary Agent Eric Simonoff who was celebrated last year.  We joked about his table being in the rear of the room.  "Yes,” he said, “We’re in the cheap seats.”
Co-chairs Salman Rushdie and Jackie Woodson.
Morgan Entrekin with Kia Corthron, the winner of last year’s First Novel Prize. Kia presented the Fiction Prize later in the evening to this year’s winner — Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Himes (Europa Editions).
Novelist Roxanna Robinson. A.M. Homes.

Francisco Goldman presenting the Perkins award to Morgan Entrekin.

Known as Frank, Mr. Goldman flew up from Mexico City where his wife is expecting their first child. Grove/Press with its tolerance of blown deadlines has published all six of Mr. Goldman's books. "When your publisher never gives up on you, you never give up on yourself," he said.
A photograph of Morgan’s head table while Frank Goldman is at the podium.
Morgan helping Francisco, recovering from recent knee surgery,  from the podium back to the table.  
A few words from Morgan, who is celebrating his 41st year in publishing.

“I am honored to receive the Maxwell Perkins Award from the Center for Fiction tonight.  To be among so many friends and family and colleagues from near and far, to hear the amusing and thoughtful tributes from P.J. and Frank, and to read more from my authors in the program is a deeply moving experience. It is an evening I will never forget and it has made me realize yet again how truly blessed I have been to have spent my life in such a wonderful, fulfilling profession. "
Eliot Minton and his father Macrae Linton are old friends of Morgan’s from Nashville. Eliot is a recent Princeton graduate and an aspiring comedy writer who has just moved to Brooklyn.

Morgan has a big hug for his wife Rachel Cobb after delivering his speech accepting the Maxwell E. Perkins Award from The Center For Fiction.
Steve Kroft and Morgan Entrekin.
Terry McDonell.
Morgan with his brother Hugh Entrekin, and his cousin Dr. Charles Sawyers.
Artist John Alexander with his wife Fiona Waterstreet, who makes wonderful ceramics and is from Australia.
Nick McDonell.
Cal Morgan, with Jonny Diamond, Editor of Literary Hub.

Mr. Morgan an editor at Riverhead who is Chair of the Board of the Center for Fiction.

The Literary Hub was launched by Morgan Entrekin in April 2015 as a place to bring together the best in literary culture that was previously scattered across the web. Everyday Lit Hub features original content from its more than 200 partners—publishers large and small, literary journals, authors, booksellers and literary nonprofits—as well as features commissioned  by the LH editors and a daily newsletter with links to pieces from over 150 sources. The site  now has more than 1.5 million visitors a month.
Gary Fisketjon with Rachel Cobb.
This photo journal is dedicated with much love to Morgan’s parents, Ervin Morgan Entrekin (1927–1990) and Jane Edwards Entrekin (1929—2017). I wish they could have been with all of us on Tuesday night. We were all their family and they were ours.

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved. Contact Jill Krementz here.