[PP] The Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize, Novel category (1917-1947) and Fiction category (1948-2010) [PP]

Awarded annually since 1917

The first major award to recognize American fiction. The Pulitzer recipients are a rough draft of the 20th century American canon. Many of the predictable read-it-in-school books were first carved into the cultural granite here. I would argue that the award has passed through three eras. The first lasts until the 1960s, wherein the Pulitzer had an uncanny knack for landing in the hands of authors who were quickly be swallowed by the leviathan that was their winning novels, seeing the book define them and, ultimately, subsume them. Some examples: The Good Earth, Gone with the Wind, The Yearling, All the King’s Men, and most exemplary, To Kill a Mockingbird. A shorter period followed in the 60s and 70s where one hit wonders were replaced by veterans producing some of their finest work. (Malamud’s The Fixer, Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift, Mailer’s Executioner’s Song, etc.) Then starting with 1983’s The Color Purple, the Pulitzer entered its modern era where it became known as the launchpad for Oscar bait screenplays based on novels. Ironweed, Beloved, A Thousand Acres, The Shipping News, and The Hours being a few examples.

Of the three annual American awards, the Pulitzer has been the polestar of American popular Literature for decades. When the New York Times published its list of the best works of American fiction over the past twenty-five years (as voted on by a consortium of critics and authors), three of the five finalists had won the Pulitzer.

Here are all the Pulitzer winners. Works in RED appear on the Master List. 

2010 Tinkers by Paul Harding(Bellevue Literary Press)
2009 Olive Kitteridge byElizabeth 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 byEdward 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 byJhumpa Lahiri (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin)
1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
1998 American Pastoral byPhilip Roth (Houghton Mifflin)
1997 Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer bySteven Millhauser (Crown)
1996 Independence Day byRichard 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 byAnne Tyler (Alfred A. Knopf)
1988 Beloved by Toni Morrison(Alfred A. Knopf)
1987 A Summons to Memphis byPeter 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 byNorman Mailer (Little)
1979 The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever(Knopf)
1978 Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson (Atlantic Monthly Press)
1977 (No Award)
1976 Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow (Viking)
1975 The Killer Angels byMichael Shaara (McKay)
1974 (No Award)
1973 The Optimist’s Daughterby Eudora Welty (Random)
1972 Angle of Repose byWallace Stegner (Doubleday)
1971 (No Award)
1970 Collected Stories by Jean Stafford (Farrar)
1969 House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday (Harper)
1968 The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron(Random)
1967 The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (Farrar)
1966 Collected Stories byKatherine Anne Porter(Harcourt)
1965 The Keepers Of The Houseby Shirley Ann Grau (Random)
1964 (No Award)
1963 The Reivers by William Faulkner (Random)
1962 The Edge of Sadness byEdwin O’Connor (Little)
1961 To Kill A Mockingbird byHarper Lee (Lippincott)
1960 Advise and Consent byAllen Drury (Doubleday)
1959 The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor (Doubleday)
1958 A Death In The Family by the late James Agee (a posthumous publication) (McDowell, Obolensky)
1957 (No Award)
1956 Andersonville byMacKinlay Kantor (World)
1955 A Fable by William Faulkner (Random)
1954 (No Award)
1953 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner)
1952 The Caine Mutiny byHerman Wouk (Doubleday)
1951 The Town by Conrad Richter (Knopf)
1950 The Way West by A. B. Guthrie (Sloane)
1949 Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens (Harcourt)
1948 Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener(Macmillan)
1947 All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (Harcourt)
1946 (No Award)
1945 A Bell for Adano by John Hersey (Knopf)
1944 Journey in the Dark byMartin Flavin (Harper)
1943 Dragon’s Teeth by Upton Sinclair (Viking)
1942 In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow (Harcourt)
1941 (No Award)
1940 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Viking)
1939 The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Scribner)
1938 The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand (Little)
1937 Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Macmillan)
1936 Honey in the Horn byHarold L. Davis (Harper)
1935 Now in November byJosephine Winslow Johnson(Simon & Schuster)
1934 Lamb in His Bosom byCaroline Miller (Harper)
1933 The Store by T. S. Stribling (Doubleday)
1932 The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John Day)
1931 Years of Grace byMargaret Ayer Barnes(Houghton)
1930 Laughing Boy by Oliver Lafarge (Houghton)
1929 Scarlet Sister Mary byJulia Peterkin (Bobbs)
1928 The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (Boni)
1927 Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield (Stokes)
1926 Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis (Harcourt)
1925 So Big by Edna Ferber(Doubleday)
1924 The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson (Harper)
1923 One of Ours by Willa Cather (Knopf)
1922 Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington (Doubleday)
1921 The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (Appleton)
1920 (No Award)
1919 The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington(Doubleday)
1918 His Family by Ernest Poole (Macmillan)
1917 (No Award)

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