Our newsroom was buzzing today when the Pulitzers were announced, but that was mostly on the journalism side — a York Suburban graduate won his second prize in three years for photography.
It took a moment for me to focus on the arts awards. And that’s when I noticed there was no fiction prize awarded.
It’s the first time in 35 years — and only the 11th time in Pulitzer history, according to the Washington Post. Pulitzer Prize administrator Sig Gissler is quoted in the article, explaining “no one of the three entries received a majority, and thus after lengthy consideration, no prize was awarded.”
Fair, I suppose, but still surprising.
Nominees were “Train Dreams,” by Denis Johnson, “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell, and “The Pale King,” by the late David Foster Wallace.
Here’s who did win a prize:
- General nonfiction: “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton and Co.), a provocative book arguing that an obscure work of philosophy, discovered nearly 600 years ago, changed the course of history by anticipating the science and sensibilities of today.
- Drama: “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegrma Hudes, an imaginative play about the search for meaning by a returning Iraq war veteran working in a sandwich shop in his hometown of Philadelphia.
- History: “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” by the late Manning Marable (Viking), an exploration of the legendary life and provocative views of one of the most significant African-Americans in U.S. history.
- Biography: “George F. Kennan: An American Life” by John Lewis Gaddis (The Penguin Press), a portrait of a globe-trotting diplomat whose complicated life was interwoven with the Cold War and America’s emergence as the world’s dominant power.
- Poetry: “Life on Mars” by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press), a collection of bold, skillful poems, taking readers into the universe and moving them to an authentic mix of joy and pain.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS