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Posted on Jun 26, 2013 in Stuff We Like

Tim O’Brien Wins Pritzker Military Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement

By Media Release

For the first time in its history, the Pritzker Military Library has honored a fiction writer, Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried, Going After Cacciato), with its award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Armchair General received the following media release.

Pritzker Military Library Announces
2013 Literature Award Winner

CHICAGO, June 25, 2013 – On behalf of the Pritzker Military Library, historian and journalist Sir Max Hastings announced Tim O’Brien as the winner of the 2013 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Sponsored by the Tawani Foundation, the coveted $100,000 literature award will be presented at the Library’s annual gala on November 16, 2013.


Since its inception in 2007, the Library’s Literature Award has become one of the most prestigious literary awards of its kind. Past recipients of the award, which includes a medallion, citation, and $100,000 honorarium, are Rick Atkinson, Carlo D’Este, Max Hastings, James McPherson, Allan Millett and Gerhard Weinberg.

“I’m delighted and honored to receive this very special award, which in previous years has gone to such distinguished writers,” said O’Brien.  “To find myself in their company is both immensely satisfying and a little daunting.”

The selection of O’Brien, a novelist and short story writer, marks the first time the award has been given to a fiction writer. “Tim O’Brien’s fiction about Vietnam, which derives from his own experience as a soldier, is haunting, evocative, and wonderfully inventive,” said Rick Atkinson, recipient of the 2011 literature award. “Yet his writing transcends that particular war in that particular era to illuminate our sense of war universally.”

A combat veteran of the Vietnam War, O’Brien is the winner of the National Book Award, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, the National Magazine Award and the Katherine Anne Porter Award.  His works include If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, The Things They Carried, and Going After Cacciato. His short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories of the Century and in publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Esquire. His work was recognized by the Society of American Historians, who awarded him the James Fenimore Cooper prize for In the Lake of the Woods, which was also recognized as Time magazine’s Best Book of the Year in 1994.  He lives in Austin, Texas.

Part military history and information center, part museum, the Pritzker Military Library is open to the public with an extensive collection of books, artifacts and rotating exhibits covering many eras and branches of the military. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Library is a center where citizens and Citizen Soldiers come together to learn from each other, about military history and the role of the Armed Forces in today’s society through a variety of public events and online and televised programming.

To learn more, visit

Founded by Colonel (IL) J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), Tawani Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) grant-making organization whose mission is: to enhance the awareness and understanding of the importance of the Citizen Soldier; to preserve unique sites of significance to American and military history; to foster health and wellness projects for improved quality of life; and to honor the service of military personnel, past, present and future, through an awards program that includes the JROTC/ROTC Award for Military Excellence and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.

To learn more about the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, visit

1 Comment

  1. Tim O’Brien’s books should be read by anyone who has been or is interested in the Military. His observations and novels give you an insight as to what it’s all about.

    Congratulations Tim and may you continue to write about the indescribable that allow those of us who weren’t there to understand.