Jonathan Franzen Gets the Last Laugh | EW.com

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Jonathan Franzen Gets the Last Laugh

Plus "The Prisoner", Steve Martin, and the inside scoop on the book world

NO. 6 LINE Though The Prisoner only ran for 17 episodes, the Kafka-meets-le Carré British TV series—about a secret agent trapped in an idyllic village—still managed to become the X-Files of its day. But now the 1967 creation, starring Patrick McGoohan, may finally be moving beyond cult status. A&E recently finished releasing the entire series on DVD, and New York publisher ibooks has just inked a deal to create a set of original hardcover novels featuring the Prisoner, or ”No. 6,” as he’s better known, starting late next year. ”The DVD set has brought a whole new generation to [the show],” says ibooks president Byron Preiss. Rounding out the series launch will be a reissue of three out-of-print novels based on the program (the first, due out next June, written by sci-fi master Thomas Disch), as well as an all-new official Prisoner companion.

NBA CHAMPS Andrew Solomon nabbed the nonfiction National Book Award for his memoir, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, but it was fiction winner Jonathan Franzen who took center stage at last week’s ceremony. The Oprah-shunning author was met with tepid applause and even a few hisses when his prize was announced. But Franzen also got the most laughs of any author, putting him in a near tie with Steve Martin, the evening’s emcee, for best humor. ”I was the person who provided some blood sport entertainment to divert the literary community” following Sept. 11, the Corrections author told the crowd, adding that he hoped if a whipping boy were ever needed again, somebody else could do the honors. Martin noted that Franzen would soon be appearing on Martha Stewart’s Good Morning Wisconsin.