Margulies, author of Sight Unseen and Brooklyn Boy, was one of eight writers given $7,500 in recognition of "exceptional accomplishment in any genre." The others were Jim Grimsley, Joseph Harrison, Edward P. Jones, Charles Martin, Jeffrey Meyers, Stephen Orgel and Burton Watson. Winning the Award of Merit for Drama, meanwhile, was playwright Charles L. Mee, author of Big Love, Wintertime and other works. The prize includes a medal and $10,000.
The Academy was founded in 1898 to "foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts." Each year, the Academy honors over 50 artists, architects, writers, and composers (who are not members) with cash awards. The amounts of these prizes range from $2,500 to $75,000. Other activities of the Academy are exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts; publications on the Academy’s history and events; and readings and performances of new musicals. The American Academy of Arts and Letters is located in two landmark buildings, designed by McKim, Mead & White and by Cass Gilbert, on Audubon Terrace at 155th Street and Broadway.