For the first time in 35 years, there will be no Pulitzer Prize in the fiction category. Some of our favorite books, like A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and March, have won the award in the past.
There were three people on the fiction jury (Susan Larson, Maureen Corrigan and Michael Cunningham), and according to a tweet from @bookbeast (the editor of The Daily Beast‘s book section), there must be a majority vote for a winner to be declared. In other words, two out of three judges must agree on a winner,
and this year it didn’t happen. [ETA: Though this is true, the board can refuse to accept the judges' decision. On Tuesday, April 17, judge Susan Larson was the first to clarify that the judges DID make a decision, but the board exercised their option to not award the prize.]
In the nonfiction category, the award went to The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton). The finalists are One Hundred Names For Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing by Diane Ackerman (Norton) and Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by Mara Hvistendahl (Public Affairs).
The winner in the biography category is George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis (The Penguin Press).
The winner in the history category is Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable (Viking).
The winner in poetry is Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf).
Read the full list of 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winners and finalists here.
Are you surprised by the fiction announcement? Do you think there was a novel (or collection of short stories) published in 2011 that is deserving of the award?