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2012 Pulitzer Prize Contenders

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  • Atypical
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    #441180

    The
    Pulitzer Prize Awards will be announced on Monday, April 16, 2012. I look
    forward to their fiction and drama winners each year, so I wanted to gather a
    list of possible contenders before the awards are handed out. I’ll focus on
    fiction with some of the most likely contenders (though this award has been
    given to some off-the-radar novelists in recent years).

    2012
    Pen/Faulkner Nominees
    :


    “The Buddha in the
    Attic” by Julie Otsuka (WINNER)

    Lost
    Memory of Skin” by Russell Banks

    “The
    Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories” by Don DeLillo

    “The
    Artist of Disappearance” by Anita Desai

    “We
    Others: New and Selected Stories” by Steven Millhauser (previous Pulitzer Prize
    winner)



    2011
    National Book Award Nominees
    :


    “Salvage the Bones”
    by Jesmyn Ward (WINNER)

    “The
    Sojourn” by Andrew Krivak


    “The
    Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht

    “The
    Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka

    “Binocular
    Vision” by Edith Pearlman


    2011
    National Book Critics Circle Nominees
    :


    “Binocular Vision” by
    Edith Pearlman (WINNER)

    “Open
    City” by Teju Cole

    “The
    Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides

    “The Stranger’s
    Child” by Alan Hollinghurst

    “Stone
    Arabia” by Dana Spiotta


    There’s
    also some major contenders from non-nominated authors:

    “Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks (previous Pulitzer Prize winner)

    “A
    Small Hotel” by Robert Olen Butler (previous Pulitzer Prize winner)

    “Nightwoods”
    by Charles Frazier

    “The
    Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach
    “Ten Thousand Saints” by Eleanor Henderson 

    “Train
    Dreams” by Denis Johnson

    “The Cat’s Table” by Michael Ondaatje
    “The Leftovers” by Tom Perrotta 
    “Swamplandia!”
    by Karen Russell
    “The Pale King” by David Foster Wallace 



    Discuss
    & predict the finalists/winner.

    Reply
    rockstitution
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    #441182

    I’m not sure who’s gonna take Fiction but I think Drama will go to Other Desert Cities.

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    theriversticks
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    #441183

    I’m pretty stumped on this year’s fiction prize, but am looking forward to the biography winner. Gaddis’s book about George F. Kennan seems right up the Pulitzer board’s alley.

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    Atypical
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    #441184

    Fiction is such a crapshoot. I feel like they won’t go in the conventional route like Téa Obreht or Chad Harbach this year, especially after they snubbed Jonathan Franzen last year. They’ve been on this trend lately with choosing interconnected narratives as their winners, so I really want to predict Eleanor Henderson for “Ten Thousand Saints,” but that might come off as too similar to “A Visit From the Goon Squad.” I’m hesitant to pick outright short-story collections like Don DeLillo’s and Edith Pearlman’s, but they’re in this race as much as anyone. Maybe they’ll go for all-out quirk and pick Karen Russell’s “Swamplandia!” Very tough to predict this race! I’ll try to come up with something before the announcement.

    For reference, last year’s winner was “A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan. The other finalists were “The Surrendered” by Chang-rae Lee and “The Privileges” by Jonathan Dee.

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    theriversticks
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    #441185

    I guess De Lillo’s short story collection is as good a pick as any. The Pulitzer’s are such a beast to predict because for every winner you could see from a mile away (Good Squad, Gilead, Oscar Wao) there are several completely out of left field picks that no one saw coming (March?? TINKERS??). I’d put the smallest bet on him, party because of modern American fiction’s heavyweights, he is the only one without one (you could argue the same about Joyce Carol Oates, but I think De Lillo, Roth, Morrison, etc. are in a different tier).

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    Atypical
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    #441186

    I’ll take a stab at this just to see how off I am in the results.

    I’m going with a gut feeling and predict Eleanor Henderson’s “Ten Thousand Saints” for the fiction winner. Finalists “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell and “The Tragedy of Arthur” by Arthur Phillips.

    Any last-minute predictions for the fiction and drama winners?

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    theriversticks
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    #441187

    Drama is all about “Other Desert Cities.”

    I also wouldn’t mind Steven Millhauser winning for “We others” in fiction, but he already has one, for a nondeserving book (“Martin Dressler”).

    I am far too ignorant about history books to take a shot there, but generally their winners are always very good.

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    adamunc
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    #441188

    Here’s a list of the winners:

    http://www.pulitzer.org/

    Shockingly, no Other Desert Cities! 🙁

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    Atypical
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    #441189

    NO FICTION AWARD THIS YEAR! All that work for nothing. Damn.

    Drama: “Water by the Spoonful,” by Quiara Alegría Hudes

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    theriversticks
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    #441190

    NO FICTION!!! UGH!! Can’t believe that.

    Oddly enough, the Malcom X book that won in History was a runner-up in Biography. Innerestin’.

    Can’t believe no fiction winner. Diss.

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    Atypical
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    #441191

    The last time that no fiction award was given was in 1977.

    The finalists were:

    Denis Johnson, “Train Dreams”
    Karen Russell, “Swamplandia!”
    David Foster Wallace, “The Pale King”

    In drama:

    WINNER: Quiara Alegría Hudes, “Water by the Spoonful”

    The finalists were:

    Jon Robin Baitz, “Other Desert Cities”
    Stephen Karam, “Sons of the Prophet”

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    babypook
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    #441192

    Here’s another news article.
    Monday, April 16, 2012 1:35:35 PM
    Breaking News Alert
    The New York Times
    Monday, April 16, 2012 — 3:28 PM EDT
    —–

    2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

    The New York Times won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, one for its reporting on Africa and another for an investigative series on obscure tax code provisions that allow wealthy corporations and citizens to avoid paying taxes. But the bigger surprise this year came from new media. Online news outlets The Huffington Post and Politico both won their first Pulitzer Prizes, a sign of the changing media landscape.

    Also notable this year was the lack of prizes in some categories. The Pulitzer Prize board did not name a winner in the editorial writing category and more notably declined to name a winner in the coveted fiction category for the first time in 35 years.

    Read More:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/business/media/2012-pulitzer-prize-winners-announced.html?emc=na

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    Atypical
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    #441193

    Oddly enough, the Malcom X book that won in History was a runner-up in Biography. Innerestin’.
    Can’t believe no fiction winner. Diss.

    Yeah, it’s unexpected and bizarre. I would have thought the Board would override the jury’s decision to not award there in fiction. They’ve made their own calls before with “Next to Normal” in drama and did that again this year with moving the “Malcolm X” bio from biography finalist to history winner.  

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    Atypical
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    #441194

    Sorry to prolong the subject, but this decision is a big deal in the history of the Pulitzers. EW seems to be in favor of Karen Russell winning from the three finalists, but each of the finalists had its share of “problems” to the Board I guess. Interesting that the Board didn’t bring in their own choice like they did for “Next to Normal” in drama a few years ago. I thought that the jurors made their decision and then the Board would approve it more often than not as a symbolic gesture, but I guess that’s not the case.

    Pulitzer Prize board doesn’t choose a fiction winner. That’s all kinds of wrong

    by Stephan Lee

    EW.com

    Wow, Pulitzer committee. That’s cold.

    For the first time in 35 years, no Pulitzer Prize was awarded in the fiction category. The message from the committee to any author who published a novel or short story collection in 2011 seems to be: Sorry, you’re just not good enough. The Pulitzer Board failed to reach a necessary majority to determine a winner based on the three fiction finalists determined by a panel of three jurors.*

    The fiction jurors were Susan Larson, former book editor of “The Times-Picayune,” Maureen Corrigan, book critic for Fresh Air on NPR, and the novelist Michael Cunningham, who won the 1999 Pulitzer for his novel “The Hours.”

    The jurors chose three finalists—“Train Dreams” by Denis Johnson, “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell, and “The Pale King” by David Foster Wallace—and it was up to the Pulitzer Board to make the final decision. To be fair to the Board, the jurors may have made the decision more difficult than it should have been. Johnson’s “Train Dreams” is a novella that was re-issued from 2002, and the board may have felt as though it was something they’d seen before. The posthumously published, incomplete “The Pale King” wasn’t the late Wallace’s best work. But why not give the award to Russell? “Swamplandia!” isn’t the typical Pulitzer winner, but it’s an intelligent, inventive, and thoroughly entertaining read. In a time when people aren’t buying books—especially literary adult novels—it seems counterproductive and insulting not to hand out a Pulitzer Prize, which translates into sales. Last year’s winner, Jennifer Egan’s “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” got a huge boost in paperback after the announcement.

    Getting a mass audience to buy a challenging literary novel is an uphill battle, and there better be a good reason for depriving the reading public of a quality recommendation. My mother, whose first language is not English, would always buy and spend a painstakingly long time to read and understand the Pulitzer-winning novel each year. For her and a lot of other readers, the Pulitzer Prize is the ultimate, authoritative stamp of approval, and it got her to read books she wouldn’t normally read—and she gained a huge sense of accomplishment from finishing them.

    There were plenty of worthy books in 2011: “The Submission” by Amy Waldman, “Stone Arabia” by Dana Spiotta, and “The Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht come to mind. What books do you think were deserving? Was the Pulitzer Board just being curmudgeonly, or do you agree with its decision?

    * This post originally implied that jurors Susan Larson, Maureen Corrigan, and Michael Cunningham were responsible for the decision not to award a fiction prize this year. The decision rests solely with the Pulitzer board. We regret the error.

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    Benedick
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    #441195

    Actually, in this article from the HuffPost, the chair of the fiction jury says that their decision was “unanimous” – which I believe is referring to their recommendation to the Board about which of the three finalists should win. In the past, I know for certain that a recommendation for the winner has been made to the Board:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/16/nobody-wins-pulitzer-prize-fiction-2012_n_1429357.html?ref=books

    The fact that all 3 of them agreed on the winner and the Board couldn’t come to a conclusion makes it look more hapless.

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