This year, for the first time in 35 years, the Pulitzer Prize board failed to select a winner for the highly coveted award for fiction. The Pulitzer prizes, announced on April 16 2012, include prizes for investigative reporting, photography, editorial cartooning and more.
Having narrowed the field down to three novels – David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, Karen Russell’s Swamplandia and Denis Johnson’s novella, Train Dreams – Pulitzer Prize administrator, Sig Gissler, said none of the works received a majority from the three-man panel. This has generated mixed reactions from writers, publishers and the general public: while some are disappointed, others see it as a call to writers to be more innovative. This brings to mind the 2009 Nigeria Prize for Literature, for which no winner was announced and no prize awarded.
Ann Patchett, author and entrepreneur, has this to say about the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for fiction:
What goes on during a deliberation is a private matter for the jurors alone; the rest of us are privy only to the verdict. That holds true for book awards as well as murder cases. So when the Pulitzer Prize Board announced on Monday that there were three finalists for the fiction prize and no winner, we were left to draw our own conclusions.
So far I’ve been able to come up with two: either the board was unable to reach a consensus, or at the end of the day the board members decided that none of the finalists, and none of the other books that were not finalists, were worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.
What I am sure of is this: most readers hearing the news will not assume it was a deadlock. They’ll just figure it was a bum year for fiction.
As a novelist and the author of an eligible book, I do not love this. It’s fine to lose to someone, and galling to lose to no one.
Read the rest of the article here.
What are your thoughts on this?