NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Springsteen will be presenting a lifetime achievement award next spring to Richard Ford, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Independence Day” centers on a real estate agent from Springsteen’s native New Jersey.
But not everyone is happy about Ford’s receiving the Hadada Award, bestowed by the Paris Review at the magazine’s annual spring Revel.
Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen was among those on Twitter who noted that the Hadada has only been given to white writers. Others, including author Roxane Gay, cited Ford’s history of hostile behavior toward writers who criticized his work. In 2004, he spat on Colson Whitehead after Whitehead wrote a negative review of Ford’s “A Multitude of Sins.” In a 2017 column that ran in Esquire, Ford expressed little regret.
“I can tell you that, as of today, I don’t feel any different about Mr. Whitehead, or his review, or my response,” he wrote.
The Paris Review didn’t have an immediate comment Tuesday and Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Whitehead declined comment.
The 75-year-old Ford is known to many for his works about the New Jersey sports writer-turned real estate agent Frank Bascombe: “The Sportswriter,” ”Independence Day,” ”The Lay of the Land” and “Let Me Be Frank With You,” a Pulitzer finalist in 2015.
Ford has also written book reviews, including one for The New York Times about Springsteen’s memoir, “Born to Run,” which came out in 2016. (Springsteen has cited Ford as a favorite writer).
“It helps that Springsteen can write — not just life-imprinting song lyrics but good, solid prose that travels all the way to the right margin,” Ford wrote. “Oh, there are a few gassy bits here and there, a jot too much couch-inspired hooey about the ‘terrain inside my own head.’ A tad more rock ‘n’ roll highfalutin than this reader really needs — though the Bruce enthusiasts down in Sea-Clift won’t agree with me. No way.
“But nothing in ‘Born to Run’ rings to me as unmeant or punch-pulling.”