Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

In writing his 1904 will, which made provision for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes as an incentive to excellence, Pulitzer specified solely four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one for education, and four traveling scholarships. In letters, prizes were to go to an American novel, an original American play performed in New York, a book on the history of the United States, an American biography, and a history of public service by the press.

But, sensitive to the dynamic progression of his society, Pulitzer made provision for broad changes in the system of awards. He established an overseer advisory board and willed it "power in its discretion to suspend or to change any subject or subjects, substituting, however, others in their places, if in the judgment of the board such suspension, changes, or substitutions shall be conducive to the public good or rendered advisable by public necessities, or by reason of change of time." He also empowered the board to withhold any award where entries fell below its standards of excellence. 

In 1948 the award for novels was changed to fiction.

Year Book Name Author
2014 The Goldfinch Donna Tart
  Tenneager involved in missing masterpiece  
2013 The Orphan's Master Son Adam Johnson
  North Korean survival & love story  
2012 No Award N/A
2011 A Visit from the Goon Squad Jennifer Egan
  Growing Old experiencing culutural change  
2010 Tinkers Paul Harding
  Dying man remembers his childhood  
2009 Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout
  Short stories of Maine townspeople  
2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Diaz
  Overweight nerd falls in love  
2007 The Road Cormac McCarthy
  Father and son in apocalypse  
2006 March Geraldine Brooks
  Chaplain fights war and slavery  
2005 Gilead Marilynne Robinson
  Reverend creates memoirs for son  
2004 The Known World Edward P.Jones
  Former slave's death creates more slavery  
2003 Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides
  Unusual awkward adolescence in 70s US  
2002 Empire Falls Richard Russo
  Father raises daughter in declining town  
2001 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Michael Chabon
  Nazi escapee launches the comic book  
2000 Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri
  Stories in India and New England  
1999 The Hours Michael Cunningham
  Virgina Woolf & two modern US women  
1998 American Pastoral Philip Roth
  American Swede anguishes in 60s US  
1997 The Tale of an American Dreamer Steven Millhauser
  19th century entrepreneur makes concrete  
1996 Independence Day Richard Ford
  Divorcee estate agent's trials & tribulations  
1995 The Stone Diaries Carol Shields
  Autobiography: child, wife, mother & widow  
1994 The Shipping News E. Annie Proulx
  Journalist widower seeks Newfoundland forefathers  
1993 A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain Robert Olen Butler
  Vietnamese-Americans narrate variety of tales  
1992 A Thousand Acres Jane Smiley
  Modern day version of King Lear  
1991 Rabbit at Rest John Updike
  Overweight father endures family turmoil  
1990 The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Oscar Hijuelos
  Cuban muscians seek fame in US  
1989 Breathing Lessons Anne Tyler
  50yr old mother's day of revelations  
1988 Beloved Toni Morrison
  Secrets of slave child murder unravel  
1987 A Summons to Memphis Peter Taylor
  Old father’s remarriage causes chaos  
1986 Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry
  Epic Western – whores & cowboys  
1985 Foreign Affairs Alison Lurie
  American love affairs in London  
1984 Ironweed William Kennedy
  Survival of 1930s alcoholic vagrant  
1983 The Color Purple Alice Walker
  Black woman overcomes terrible abuse  
1982 Rabbit Is Rich John Updike
  1970’s car salesman’s mid-life crisis  
1981 A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole
  Eloquent, unemployable obese New Orlean  
1980 The Executioner's Song Norman Mailer
  Murderer fights to be executed  
1979 The Stories of John Cheever John Cheever
  Sixty-one stories of American life  
1978 Elbow Room James Alam McPherson
  Twelve stories about black Americans  
1976 Humboldt's Gift Saul Bellow
  Art/Power in Materialist America  
1975 The Killer Angels Michael Shaara
  Civil War brought to life  
1973 The Optimist's Daughter Eudora Welty
  Judge’s daughter stirs old memories  
1972 Angle of Repose Wallace Stegner
  Two stories past and present  
1970 The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford Jean Stafford
  Stories of childhood, old-age, tragedy and comedy  
1969 House Made of Dawn N. Scott Momaday
  Native-Americans conflict with post-war US  
1968 The Confessions of Nat Turner William Styron
  Memoirs of death row slave  
1967 The Fixer Bernard Malamud
  Innocent Jew accused of murder  
1966 The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter Katherine Anne Porter
  27 Texan/Mexican Short Stories  
1965 The Keepers of the House Shirley Ann Grau
  Mississippi family struggles during segregation  
1964 No award N/a
1963 The Reivers William Faulkner
  1905 coming-of-age adventure story  
1962 The Edge of Sadness Edwin O'Connor
  Recovering alcoholic priest creates hope  
1961 To Kill a Mocking Bird Harper Lee
  Childhood view of 1930s Alabama  
1960 Advise and Consent Allen Drury
  1950’s Washington constitutional politics uncovered  
1959 The Travels of Jamie McPheeters Robert Lewis Taylor
  Gold-rush father and son adventure  
1958 A Death in the Family James Agee
  Family devastated by father’s death  
1957 No award N/a
1956 Andersonville MacKinlay Kantor
  American Civil War POW horror  
1955 A Fable William Faulkner
  Soldiers agree not to fight  
1954 No award N/a
1953 The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway
  Unlucky fisherman struggles in adversity  
1952 The Caine Mutiny Herman Wouk
  Incompetent Captain get’s his comeuppance  
1951 The Town Conrad Richter
  Pioneers witness their town grow  
1950 The Way West A.B. Guthrie Jr
  Pioneers head west to Oregon  
1949 Guard of Honor James Gould Cozzens
  Culture mix in American Airforce  
1948 Tales of the South Pacific James.A.Michener
  South Pacific war & romance  

2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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