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

1970 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford by Jean Stafford


Publisher: University of Texas Press

Length: 463 pages

About: Stories of childhood, old-age, tragedy and comedy

Style: 3rd person

Where: US and Europe

When: 1940s and 1950s


Publisher’s synopsis:

This collection of thirty stories includes some of Jean Stafford's best short fiction from the period 1944-1968. Including such favorites as In the Zoo, Children Are Bored on Sunday, and Beatrice Trueblood's Story, the collection offers the work of this popular writer of the 1940s and 1950s to a new generation of readers and critics.



Keening harshly in his senility, the blind polar bear slowly and ceaselessly shakes his head in the stark heat of July and mountain noon. His open eyes are blue. No one stops to look at him; an old farmer, in passing, sums up the old bear's situation by observing, with a ruthless chuckle, that he is a "black number." Patient and espairing, he sits on his yellowed haunches on the central rock of his pool, his huge toy paws wearing short boots of mud.




EVERYTHING that we desire from a collection of short stories, from the art of fiction, in fact, can be found in this gathering of Jean Stafford's work: a superior and controlled craftsmanship, human dilemmas uniquely individual, yet common to all of us, backgrounds and situations authentic in themselves and per fect for providing the skeletal structure of her tales, and those insights into human behavior and personality that we call wisdom. 

New York Times, Thomas Lask 14th February 1969


Not so good:

None found so far.


About the author

Born in California, July 1, 1915 - March 26, 1979. A series of traumas scarred Stafford's early adulthood. While attending the University of Colorado, where she earned concurrent bachelor's and master's degrees in 1936, she witnessed the suicide by shooting of her friend Lucy McKee. After a year studying philology in Heidelberg, Germany, she returned to Boulder, where she met the poet Robert Lowell at a writers' conference. And in 1938, she was severely injured in an automobile accident in which Lowell was driving, and had to undergo reconstructive facial surgery. Her only brother died in World War II. Stafford taught briefly at St. Stephens College, in Columbia, Missouri, but disliked teaching; she also worked at the Southern Review in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and lived with Lowell in New York City and Tennessee before moving to Boston, where (despite suing him in connection with the accident) she married him in 1940.

 Her first novel, Boston Adventure was a best-seller, earning her national acclaim. She wrote two more novels in her career, but her greatest medium was the short story: her works were published in The New Yorker and various literary magazines. For many years Stafford suffered from alcoholism, depression, and pulmonary disease. By age sixty-three she had almost stopped eating and died of cardiac arrest in White Plains, New York in 1979.


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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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