Last night The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation gave ten writers $50,000 each for the  2010 Whiting Writers’ Awards–celebrating “exceptional talent and promise in early career.” The complete list (and bios) of the authors follows below.

During the ceremony at the Morgan Library & Museum Foundation president Dr. Robert L. Belknap told the winners not to worry about finding blockbuster audiences. “Perhaps they will become incredibly important to a readership that hasn’t even been born yet,” he explained.

Keynote speaker Peter Matthiessen reassured the nominees with tales of his own successes and failures. The great writer shared a rejection note with the recepients: “Dear Peter, James Fenimore Cooper wrote this book 150 years ago, but he wrote it better.” Matthiessen (pictured)  laughed as he recited the note from memory: “Right then, I could have used a Whiting.” Stay tuned for video coverage from the ceremony over the next few days.

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