Award buoys novelist Elmore Leonard to write again

Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:29pm EST
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By Kurt Anthony Krug

DETROIT (Reuters) - As he struggled writing his forthcoming book, "Blue Dreams," best-selling American author Elmore Leonard thought his 47th novel would probably be his last.

Then, inspiration came in the form of a medallion.

Leonard won the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in November, joining such U.S. literary luminaries as Toni Morrison, John Updike, Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer.

Now, the award has given Leonard, 87, the vigor and motivation to write at least two more books, he told Reuters in an interview at his home in Bloomfield Village, Michigan, in suburban Detroit.

"I don't have any reason to quit," he said. "I still enjoy writing."

Leonard is best known for dry, witty dialogue in his crime novels and Westerns, which include 1990's "Get Shorty" and 1996's "Out of Sight" - both of which were adapted into successful and critically acclaimed films.

He also served as an executive producer on FX's Emmy-winning TV crime drama "Justified," which is based on Leonard's novels "Pronto," "Riding the Rap" and a short story "Fire in the Hole."

After six decades of writing successful stories, novels and screenplays, Leonard now has earned respect in the same breath as America's most heralded writers of his time.   Continued...