Wednesday 9 February 2022

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

I don't know why I never did a Pulitzer Prize list here. I love lists and I keep them about everything. And I do like the Pulitzer Prize winning books, The last couple of years, I have always read the latest Pulitzer Prize winning book. And it was totally worth it.
The Prize is given to American authors who write something specific about American life. There are so many different categories, I always concentrate on the novel and will list only those. (If a year is missing, no award was given.)

So, here we go.

The prize is named after Joseph Pulitzer who born in Hungary into an impoverished Jewish family. He emigrated to the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century at the age of seventeen where he enlisted to fight in the Civil War. He later became a politician and newspaper editor and left many legacies in his will, especially for journalism schools. One of them started the Pulitzer awards for journalism. Now, there are several in journalism, arts, letters and fiction, each of them has different categories. I will only concentrate on the prize for fiction here, although I might add the odd book for one of the other categories if I've read them..

According to him, "every reporter is a hope, and every editor is a disappointment."

Pulitzer Prize
1918: Poole, Ernest "His Family"
1919: Tarkington, Booth "The Magnificent Ambersons"
1920: No award
1921: Wharton, Edith "The Age of Innocence"
1922: Tarkington, Booth "Alice Adams"
1923: Cather, Willa  "One of Ours"
1924: Wilson, Margaret "The Able McLaughlins"
1925: Ferber, Edna "So Big"
1926: Lewis, Sinclair "Arrowsmith"
1927: Bromfield, Louis "Early Autumn"
1928: Wilder, Thornton "The Bridge of San Luis Rey"
1929: Peterkin, Julia "Scarlet Sister Mary"
1930: La Farge, Oliver "Laughing Boy"
1931: Barnes, Margaret Ayer "Years of Grace"
1932: Buck, Pearl S. "The Good Earth" - 1931
1933: Stribling, T.S. "The Store"
1934: Miller, Caroline "Lamb in his Bosom"
1935: Johnson, Josephine Winslow "Now in November"
1936: Davis, Harold "Honey in the Horn"
1937: Mitchell, Margaret "Gone With the Wind" - 1936
1938: Marquand, John Phillips "The Late George Apley"
1939: Kinnan Rawlings, Marjorie "The Yearling"
1940: Steinbeck, John "The Grapes of Wrath" - 1939
1941: No award
1942: Glasgow, Ellen "In this Our Life"
1943: Sinclair, Upton "Dragon's Teeth"
1944: Flavin, Martin "Journey in the Dark"
1945: Hersey, John "A Bell for Adano"
1946: No award
1947: Warren, Robert Penn "All the King's Men"
1948: Michener, James A. "Tales of the South Pacific"
1949: Cozzens, James Gould "Guard of Honor"
1950: Guthrie, A.B. "The Way West"
1951: Richter, Conrad "The Town"
1952: Wouk, Herman "The Caine Mutiny"
1953: Hemingway, Ernest "The Old Man and the Sea" - 1952
1954: No award
1955: Faulkner, William "A Fable"
1956: Kantor, Mackinlay "Andersonville"
1957: No award
1958: Agee, James "A Death in the Family"
1959: Taylor Robert Lewis "The Travels of Jamie McPheeters"
1960: Drury, Allen "Advise and Consent"
1961: Lee, Harper "To Kill a Mockingbird" - 1960
1962: O'Connor, Edwin "The Edge of Sadness"
1963: Faulkner, William "The Reivers"
1964: No award
1965: Grau, Shirley Anne "The Keepers of the House"
1966: Porter, Katherine Anne "Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter"
1967: Malamud, Bernard "The Fixer"
1968: Styron, William "The Confessions of Nat Turner"
1969: Scott Momaday, N. "House Made of Dawn"
1970: Stafford, Jean "The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford"
1971: no award
1972: Stegner, Wallace "Angle of Repose"
1973: Welty, Eudora "The Optimist's Daughter"
1974: no award
1975: Shaara, Michael "The Killer Angels"
1976: Bellow, Saul "Humboldt's Gift"
1977: no award
1978: McPherson, James Alan "Elbow Room"
- all works: White, E.B. "Charlotte's Web" - 1952
1979: Cheever, John "The Stories of John Cheever"
From now on, they also listed the finalists which I add if I read the book.
1980:  Mailer, Norman "The Executioner's Song"
- finalist: Roth, Philip "The Ghost Writer" - 1979
1981: Toole, John Kennedy "A Confederacy of Dunces"
1982: Updike, John "Rabbit Is Rich"
1983: Walker, Alice "The Color Purple" - 1982
1984: Kennedy, William "Ironweed"
- all works: LeSieg, Theo (=Dr. Seuss) "The Cat in the Hat" - 1957, "Wacky Wednesday" - 1974
1985: Lurie, Alison "Foreign Affairs"
1986: McMurtry, Larry "Lonesome Dove"
- finalist: Tyler, Anne "The Accidental Tourist" - 1985
1987: Tayloer, Peter "A Summons to Memphis"
1988: Morrison, Toni "Beloved" - 1987
1989: Tyler, Anne "Breathing Lessons"
1990: Hijuelos, Oscar "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love"
1991: Updike, John "Rabbit at Rest"
1992: Smiley, Jane "A Thousand Acres" - 1991
1993: Butler, Robert Olen "A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain: Stories"
- finalist: Oates, Joyce Carol "Black Water"
1994: Proulx, Annie "The Shipping News" - 2003
1995: Shields, Carol "The Stone Diaries" - 1993
- finalist: Oates, Joyce Carol "What I lived for"
1996: Ford, Richard "Independence Day"
1997: Millhauser, Steven "Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer"
1998: Roth, Philip "American Pastoral"
1999: Cunningham, Michael "The Hours"
- finalist: Kingsolver, Barbara "The Poisonwood Bible" - 1998
2000: Lahiri, Jhumpa "Interpreter of Maladies" - 1999
2001: Chabon, Michael "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay"
- finalist: Oates, Joyce Carol "Blonde"
2002: Russo, Richard "Empire Falls"
- shortlist: Franzen, Jonathan "The Corrections" - 2001

2003: Eugenides, Jeffrey "Middlesex"
2004: Jones, Edward P. "The Known World" - 2004
2005: Robinson, Marilynne "Gilead"
2006: Brooks, Geraldine "March" - 2006
2007: McCarthy, Cormac "The Road" - 2006
- special citation: Bradbury, Ray "Fahrenheit 451" - 1953
2008: Díaz, Junot "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao"
- all works: Dylan, Bob "Chronicles. Volume One" - 2004
Strout, Elizabeth "Olive Kitteridge"
Harding, Paul "Tinkers"
2011: Egan, Jennifer "A Visit from the Goon Squad" 
2012: no award
2013: Johnson, Adam "The Orphan Master's Son" - 2012
- finalist:
Ivey, Eowyn "The Snow Child" - 2013
2014: Tartt, Donna "The Goldfinch" - 2013
2015: Doerr, Anthony "All the Light We Cannot See" - 2014
- finalist:
Lalami, Laila "The Moors' Account" - 2014 
2016: Nguyen, Viet Thanh (Việt Thanh Nguyễn) "The Sympathizer" - 2015
2017: Whitehead, Colson "Underground Railroad" - 2016
2018: Greer, Andrew Sean "Less" - 2017
2019: Powers, Richard "The Overstory" - 2018
2020: Whitehead, Colson "The Nickel Boys" - 2019
- finalist:
Patchett, Ann "The Dutch House" - 2019
2021: Erdrich, Louise "The Night Watchman" - 2020
2022: Cohen, Joshua "The Netanyahus" - 2021
2023: Kingsolver, Barbara "Demon Copperhead" - 2022
+ Diaz, Hernan "Trust" - 2022

1924, 1931, 1937 and 1943: Frost, Robert "A Boy’s Will" and "North of Boston" - 1913+14 (poetry)
Williams, Tennessee "A Streetcar named Desire" - 1947 (drama)
1949: Miller, Arthur "Death of a Salesman" - 1949 (drama)
1981: Woodward, Bob; Bernstein, Carl "All the President's Men" - 1974 (feature writing)
1990 and 2006: Kristof, Nicholas D. & Wudunn, Sheryl "Half the Sky" - 2009 (international reporting and commentary)
- "A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity" - 2014
1997: McCourt, Frank "Angela's Ashes" - 1996 (autobiography)
2008: Vargas, Jose Antonio "Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen" - 2018 (breaking news reporting)

Find all the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction here.


  1. Although several of my favorite books are on this list, I don't usually love the kind of books that are chosen for the Pulitzer. I love beautiful writing, but I get bored if it's not coupled with an engrossing story. Literary fiction can be a really hard sell for me sometimes!

    1. That's funny, Susan. I have not read many that I didn't like. But I have that same problem with Booker Prize winners, I've read a few and hardly enjoyed any.

      I just checked, I have read 30 from that list plus 10 finalists/special citations etc. And there were less than a handful that I didn't really enjoy. Some of them have really good stories, you might want to try one or the other at one point. But I know, so many books, so little time. LOL

      The thing is, we should read what we enjoy, not what others tell us to enjoy.

  2. I haven't read very many of these, only Age of Innocence, Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Shipping News.

    1. Those are some well known books, Lark, I'm sure you'll come across some others in the future. And if not, as I just said to Susan ^^, we should read what we enjoy.

  3. Replies
    1. Well, Emma, you're in good company, or shall we say, you probably lead the table if we look at the other comments.

  4. Thank you for the list, always interesting. I see there are some who received it more than once. I have only read 9 on the list. There are some authors and books on my list to read. Some I would not bother with.

    1. I don't know why I haven't done a list like that before, Lisbeth. Probably, because there are also so many on the internet. But I like to keep my own and see what else is out there. And yes, I doubt that I would read all of them but, as with the Nobel Prize winners, there are a lot of books among these that are already or could become classics.