Russo to receive N.H. literary award

NEWPORT, N.H. (AP) -Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo is this year’s recipient of New Hampshire’s Sarah Josepha Hale literary award, given each year to a pre-eminent author who lives in or has strong ties to New England

Russo – who resides in both Boston and Camden, Maine and is author of “Empire Falls” – was to receive the award Saturday night in the town where Hale was born.

A native of Gloversville, N.Y., Russo is slated to speak Wednesday at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, making a rare public appearance in his home area.

The writer’s work “deals with the small-town life that is so important to New England identity and culture,” said Wes McNair, one of the Sarah Hale Award judges.

Hale, who died in 1879, is best known for her poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She also was a successful author and magazine editor and led the campaign to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday.

Russo, 64, won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for literature for “Empire Falls.” His first novel, “Mohawk,” published in 1986, is set in a fictional town that closely resembles Gloversville.