Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Pulitzer Prizes, announced Monday, is the fact that no novel was judged worthy of the $10,000 prize. It’s the first time since 1977 that has happened and the 11th time since Columbia University began the prestigious awards in 1917.
After reading 341 books, they nominated three titles to the 18 voting members of the Pulitzer board, which “could not determine a winner,” says Pulitzer Prizeadministrator Sig Gissler, who sits on the board. Its members include prominent journalists such as TheNew York Times‘ Thomas Friedman. Its only fiction writer is novelist Junot Diaz.
“None of the three books could get a majority of votes,” Gissler says.
Fiction jury’s nominees:
•Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, a novella set in the old American West.
•Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, a debut novel set in the Florida Everglades about a failing theme park.
Other category winners:
•History: The late Manning Marable for Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. The author, a Columbia University professor who had worked more than a decade on the biography, died of pneumonia last April, three days before the book was published.
•Non-fiction: Stephen Greenblatt for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern,which tells the story of a 15th-century book hunter who rescued classical manuscripts and influenced history. It previously had won the 2011 National Book Award for non-fiction.
•Drama:Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes, a play about a returning Iraq veteran in Philadelphia.
•Poetry:Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith.
•Music:Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts by Kevin Puts, commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis.