Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/19/2012

Hey, Mister Pulitzer, What’s Wrong With Fiction This Year ?


Fiction Category Rejected By Pulitzer Prize

For those that haven’t heard, the Pulitzer Prize board said it would not award a Pulitzer in fiction for the first time in 35 years.

Well, how dare they!

The reason why speaks more to the interior mismanagement of the Pulitzer Prize board [read bored :)] than it does to the quality of fiction available on the reader landscape.

Anyway, this post will give a glimpse inside the inner workings of the Pulitzer Prize meanderings.

 of The New York Times has this insight: 

Publishing Is Cranky Over Snub by Pulitzers

One day after the Pulitzer Prize board said it would not award a Pulitzer in fiction for the first time in 35 years, the publishing industry was still seething, with some going as far as offering surrogate winners.

On Tuesday, Sarah McNally, the owner of McNally Jackson Books in SoHo, said she would present her own awards to “The Great Night” by Chris Adrian, “We the Animals” by Justin Torres and “Pym” by Mat Johnson.

Publishers Weekly posted a list of books from 2011 that could have been chosen, including Chad Harbach’s “Art of Fielding” and “The Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka.

On Twitter, Doubleday suggested the Twitterverse choose its own Pulitzer winner (using the hashtag #TwitterPulitzer), immediately prompting nominations like “The Leftovers” by Tom Perrotta and “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Striking a rare note of optimism, publishers of the three fiction finalists said they hoped the books would nevertheless get a boost in a rare year without a winner in the spotlight. “In years past it’s the Pulitzer winner that captures all the attention and all the sales,” said Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Alfred A. Knopf. “But since this year there was not a winner and there’s much conversation about the finalists, this may be an opportunity and a catalyst for sales.”

The collective shock and sputtering in the publishing industry began on Monday, when the Pulitzer Prize board announced the winners in journalism, letters, drama and music.

Except two categories had no winner: editorial writing and fiction.

Sig Gissler, the administrator of the Pulitzers for Columbia University, explained how it happened:

A winner is usually selected in a two-step process in which a three-member fiction jury reviews hundreds of books, settles on three finalists and sends those finalists to the Pulitzer board.

The board then reads the books and meets for two days to determine a winner. A majority is required, and this year the judges could not come up with one.

“Whenever they make a decision, it’s not meant to be a statement about fiction in general,” Mr. Gissler said on Monday. “It’s just a statement that none was able to receive a majority.”

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2 Comments »

  1. Each of the three finalist books were considered sufficient to be a winner of the prize….from the final analysis there was no one book of the three considered superior to the other two…they were all equal or equivalent and there for each worthy of the prize….

    Comment by herbster — 10/21/2012 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

    • Berbster – They should have awarded the prize to all three 🙂

      Comment by gator1965 — 10/23/2012 @ 9:51 pm | Reply


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