Award for Best Opening in a Novel
“To get there you follow Highway 58, going northeast out of the city, and it is a good highway and new. Or was new, the day we went up it. You look up the highway and it is straight for miles, coming at you, with the black line down the center coming at and at you, black and slick and tarry-shining against the white of the slab, and the heat dazzles up from the white slab so that only the black line is clear, coming at you with the whine of the tires, and if you don’t quit staring at that line and don’t take a few deep breaths and slap yourself hard on the back of the neck you’ll hypnotize yourself and you’ll come to just at the moment when the right front wheel hooks over into the black dirt shoulder off the slab, and you’ll try to jerk her back on but you can’t because the slab is high like a curb, and maybe you’ll try to reach to turn off the ignition just as she starts the drive. But you won’t make it, of course.”– Ralph Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men
About the Author
Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) was born in Guthrie, Kentucky. In his lifetime he won three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Award, the National Medal for Literature, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1986 he was named the country’s first Poet Laureate.