Amy Tan won the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival at Glenview Mansion in Rockville on Saturday.
Tan is the 24th to be honored at the festival. During the festival, Tan was interviewed by her friend and fellow writer, Mark Childress.
Childress told MyMCMedia that he found it amusing to consider Tan’s similarities to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“I tried to find an Asian character in Fitzgerald and there aren’t any, but I think in one way, he wrote about assimilation and Americanism—Gatsby is, you know, the immigrant who’s stripped away his immigrancy and is pretending to be an American—and Amy’s subject is immigration from the point of view of people who are not trying to lose their cultural identity.”
Tan accepted the award and gave a speech, and said that she, like Fitzgerald, has a desire to understand the past in her writing.
“What I decided that I really appreciated about Fitzgerald this time around—besides the beauty of his language and the narration and these wild, drunken characters—is that desire to understand the past.”
In addition to Tan, local writers and students were recognized at the festival for their writing. Helen Qian was the winner of the 2019 F. Scott Fitzgerald Student Short Story Contest for her story called “Desensitization”; and Elizabeth George won the 2019 F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest for her story called “Farang.”
Additionally, a group of Montgomery County Public Schools teachers selected 14 MCPS high school students as the 2019 Fitzgerald Scholars:
- Jasmin Alvarez, Northwest High
- Alexis Bentz, Wootton High
- Sasha Gerber, Churchill High
- Sage Graham, Gaithersburg High
- Marissa Hartman, Rockville High,
- Ceilidh Kern, John F. Kennedy High
- Evan Lewis, Clarksburg High
- Alyssa Minor, Northwest High
- Jade Pinkowitz, Watkins Mill High
- Indigo Sharp, Blair High
- Ruth Tefera, Wheaton High
- Rachel Tievy, Poolesville High
- Lydia Wei, Richard Montgomery High
- Rachel Wu, Quince Orchard High
These students received a private masterclass with Tan and Childress as well as a workshop with author Zach Powers.