Keith Richards Mailer Prize – Keith Richards was clearly winging it when he accepted his Mailer award for Distinguished Biography, a prize earned by his million-selling memoir “Life.”
“This is one for the books, if you get my drift — you hacks,” the 67-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist joked Tuesday.
Wearing tinted glasses, a long scarf around his neck and a wide red band around his sprawl of salt and pepper hair, Richards stood before hundreds dressed in suits and gowns at the Mandarin Hotel in Manhattan and loosened up as if presiding over a celebrity roast. He chuckled. He swore.
He reasoned that since he had been writing — songs — since age 16, his appearance at a literary event was not a total “intrusion.”
It had been an evening of earnest speeches about the importance of writing and education, about the disparity of wealth and the lasting lessons of the Holocaust, the latter point articulated by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, winner of the Mailer prize for lifetime achievement.
“You’ve heard from some incredible people about some serious stuff,” Richards acknowledged, before bringing the subject to his own demons, his longtime heroin addiction. “The only serious stuff I’m interested in I’ve given up.”