Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No Pulitzer for fiction this year

Some of the most surprising news out of Monday's Pulitzer Prize announcements revolved around what didn't happen. For the first time in 35 years, Pulitzer officials gave no prize for fiction.

The Washington Post reports that judges had considered three finalists -- the late David Foster Wallace's "The Pale King," Karen Russell's "Swamplandia" and Denis Johnson's "Train Dreams." But they couldn't agree on a winner, so no award was given.

Fiction judges have balked at giving an award before, most recently in 1977.

This year's history prize went to the late Manning Marable's "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention."

The Pulitzer for Biography went to John Lewis Gaddis' "George F. Kennan: An American Life."

The Pulitzer for Poetry went to "Life on Mars" by Tracy K. Smith.

Stephen Greenblatt's "The Swerve: How the World Became Modern" won the Pulitzer for General Nonfiction.

The New York Times' Julie Bosman reports that book publishers and bookstores are bummed there's no fiction award this year. A Pulitzer can elevate a little-known author and typically guarantees great sales.

One of the books that had mentioned as a leading contender for the Pulitzer fiction prize was Edith Pearlman's "Binocular Vision: New and Collected Stories." It wasn't a finalist, it turns out, but the good news is that you can hear Pearlman at 7:30 p.m. tonight, April 17, at Davidson College. She's giving a free reading and talk in the college's Sloan Music Center, Tyler-Tallman Hall.