Monday, April 16, 2012

No Winner for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction?

Via Omnivoracious

The 2012 Pulitzer prizewinners and nominated finalists were announced today, and there was no winner for the Fiction Prize. Last year's winner was Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad.

This year's finalists in fiction were Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace.

Well, that’s interesting. The last time no award was given out for Fiction was 1977. Before that, 1974 and 1971. In total, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has not been awarded ten times. This includes the period from 1918 to 1947 when it was the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel.

I am very far behind on my Pulitzer Prize reading, so at the very least, the committee has given me an additional year to help catch up without an additional winner.

Looking at the history of the award, I’ve always wondered what went on behind the scenes for the jury to arrive at “No Award” as the best option. I assume it’s the inability to find consensus, but I’d just love to get more of the story on how that came to be – this year and previous years.

Below are the other winners of this year’s Pulitzer:


Fiction - No award
Drama - "Water by the Spoonful" by Quiara Alegría Hudes
History - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, by the late Manning Marable (Viking)
Biography - George F. Kennan: An American Life, by John Lewis Gaddis (The Penguin Press)
Poetry - Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press)
General Nonfiction - The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton and Company)
Music - Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts by Kevin Puts (Aperto Press)


Public Service - The Philadelphia Inquirer
Breaking News Reporting - The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News Staff
Investigative Reporting - Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of the Associated Press and Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times
Explanatory Reporting - David Kocieniewski of The New York Times
Local Reporting - Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff, Harrisburg, Penn
National Reporting - David Wood of The Huffington Post
International Reporting - Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times
Feature Writing - Eli Sanders of The Stranger, a Seattle (Wash.) weekly
Commentary - Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune
Criticism -Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe
Editorial Writing - No award
Editorial Cartooning - Matt Wuerker of POLITICO
Breaking News Photography - Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse
Feature Photography - Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post


Carl V. Anderson said...

I'm not sure how that must feel for the authors. First you are excited that you are nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and then, instead of saying "Well, I lost out to _____", you have this void where it feels like your novel wasn't good enough to actually win. Odd.

Bill Anders said...

Have you heard about The Crystal Tear? I've heard a buzz about it in the blogosphere, but there seems to be limited information. I spoke to one woman, Lisa, who got an advanced copy and said it was awesome, but still no info. Why's it being kept secret? Have you heard anything?

Joe said...

I have not heard of it. I also can't find it on Amazon. Who wrote it? Who published it?

Bloggers tend not to keep "awesome" books a secret. Nor do publishers.

Is it self published by the author? That would account for the silence.