Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Little Pulitzer Prize Winner

Thanks for the great discussion yesterday! Today, I just wanted to bring up the cool news that this year's fiction Pulitzer Prize winner was a novella published by a small press! It's great that that Pulitzer committee is open-minded enough to look at everything out there. I'm pretty sure they also consider self-published works...although there may be some additional rules on that. But, congratulations to Paul Harding and his work "Tinkers"!

Update: Right now my roommate is home sitting for the cutest French bulldog puppy, Eloise. I want to be there so badly I'd gladly trade my Pulitzer winnings for the afternoon off. Okay, okay, so you don't get THAT much money for winning the Pulitzer.

EDITed by Scott TO ADD:

I was wondering how many of us have read Pulitzer Prize-winning novels. It's one of my goals to read all of them eventually. Anyway, here's a list of all the winners as far back as 1978. How many of these have you read?

2010 Tinkers by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press)
2009 Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)
2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Books)
2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Alfred A. Knopf)
2006 March by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)
2005 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar)
2004 The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Amistad/ HarperCollins)
2003 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar)
2002 Empire Falls by Richard Russo (Alfred A. Knopf)
2001 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (Random House)
2000 Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin)
1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
1998 American Pastoral by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin)
1997 Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser (Crown)
1996 Independence Day by Richard Ford (Alfred A. Knopf)
1995 The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (Viking)
1994 The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Charles Scribner's Sons)
1993 A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler (Henry Holt)
1992 A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (Alfred A. Knopf)
1991 Rabbit At Rest by John Updike (Alfred A. Knopf)
1990 The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (Farrar)
1989 Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (Alfred A. Knopf)
1988 Beloved by Toni Morrison (Alfred A. Knopf)
1987 A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (Alfred A. Knopf)
1986 Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster)
1985 Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie (Random House)
1984 Ironweed by William Kennedy (Viking)
1983 The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Harcourt Brace)
1982 Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike (Knopf)
1981 A Confederacy of Dunces by the late John Kennedy Toole (a posthumous publication) (Louisiana State U. Press)
1980 The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer (Little)
1979 The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever (Knopf)
1978 Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson (Atlantic Monthly Press)

I have read the winners by Cheever, Shields, Lahiri, Brooks, McCarthy, Diaz and Strout. I've read some of the older winners, but I don't feel like putting up the whole list because a) I'm lazy, and b) I'm on a blogging vacation in case you haven't noticed. Anyway. Everyone has to play now. What've you read from this list? Plans to read more of them? Do you care about the Pulitzer? I want one, you know.

Is it entirely uncool that I have come in and hijacked Davin's post?


  1. When I read that in the NY Times I was so excited I sent it on to a friend of mine who writes literary fiction. I'm so glad you posted this. It's an inspiring story for all writers: You can be successful if you write true to yourself.

  2. Wow, I didn't know novellas were contenders for the Pulitzer. That is inspiring!

  3. Tricia, It's pretty exciting news to me, especially since Michelle, Scott and I all decided to try our hand at novellas too a couple of months ago. More and more I start to think that writing true to yourself is much more likely to make you successful than anything else.

    Genie, totally. And, short story collections have won a bunch of Pulitzers too. I'm curious to read Tinkers and see what I think of it. The Pulitzers are a little hit and miss for me. I like about half of the winners. Although, I haven't read them all.

  4. The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway's novella, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. I'm sure other novellas have won the prize.

  5. Have read:
    Olive Kitteridge
    The Road
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
    Interpreter of Maladies
    The Hours
    Breathing Lessons
    Lonesome Dove

  6. Scott, I would expect nothing less than a hijacking. I have decided that your vacation is not a vacation at all, but simply an opportunity for you to mess with our minds by still showing up everywhere.

    I've read a bunch of the older winners since, for some reason, I tend to be drawn to the older stuff. But, from the list, I've read:

    Olive Kittridge
    The Road
    The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (but only half)
    Interpreter of Maladies
    The Shipping News
    The Color Purple
    Rabbit At Rest (One of the two books that inspired me to write!)
    The Stories Of John Cheever (partial)

    I've liked most of these books, but not all.

  7. I have a similar goal about reading all the nobel prize winners eventually.

    Just borrowed Paul Harding's Tinkers last week. I've read Interpreter of Maladies, started Olive Kitteridge. This list is a good reminder of how much more I need to read!!


  8. Oh and btw, Paul Harding's going to be on a panel at the LA times book festival this weekend (if anybody's interested)

  9. It is embarrassing what I haven't read on that list. I have some of those books on my nightstand, however, waiting...

  10. Wow, great post. I hadn't heard that. How nice/refreshing to hear.:)

  11. I've read five of these (Oscar Wao, The Road, March, Kavalier & Clay, and The Shipping News), and five of the earlier ones (A Death in the Family, Old Man and the Sea, All the King's Men, The Grapes of Wrath, and Lamb in His Bosom).

    I think of myself as a guy who likes contemporary fiction, but I have to admit I like the older ones I've read at least as much as the newer ones. All the King's Men is my favorite book of all time. And A Death in the Family is so so great. On the other hand, I didn't think much of The Grapes of Wrath; Steinbeck is clearly a master, but I think he went astray with that one, beloved classic though it is.


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