For the first time since 1977, no Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction at the 96th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music, announced at Columbia University Monday afternoon. The unworthy finalists were Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s Swamplandia, and the late David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.
The fiction jurors nominating the books were former Times-Picayune book editor Susan Larson, “Fresh Air” book critic Maureen Corrigan and Michael Cunningham, author of the Pulitzer-winning novel The Hours. It was the board’s decision not to award the prize.
The Pulitzer website says that according to The Plan of Award, “If in any year all the competitors in any category shall fall below the standard of excellence fixed by The Pulitzer Prize Board, the amount of such prize or prizes may be withheld.”
Also stiffed was editorial writing, whose finalists were Bloomberg News, for its European debt crisis writing; Tampa Bay Times, for its coverage of Florida Governor Rick Scott; and Burlington Free Press, for a campaign that resulted in open government reform.
24-year-old Sara Ganim, who broke the Penn State sex abuse scandal, won the local reporting prize along with members of Harrisburg, Pa.’s Patriot-News.
The Huffington Post took home its first award, for David Wood’s National Reporting. (There was indeed champagne in New York, though in D.C. they had Natty Light.) Five-year-old POLITICO also won its first Pulitzer, for editorial cartooning. The Associated Press’s NYPD team won the investigative reporting prize (as did The Seattle Times), and the late Manning Marable won the history prize for Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.
More categories with winners below.
2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners
Public Service – The Philadelphia Inquirer
Breaking News Reporting – The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News Staff
Investigative Reporting – Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of the Associated Press
Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times
Explanatory Reporting – David Kocieniewski of The New York Times
Local Reporting – Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff, Harrisburg, Penn
National Reporting – David Wood of The Huffington Post
International Reporting – Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times
Feature Writing – Eli Sanders of The Stranger, a Seattle (Wash.) weekly
Commentary – Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune
Criticism -Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe
Editorial Writing – No award
Editorial Cartooning – Matt Wuerker of POLITICO
Breaking News Photography – Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse
Feature Photography – Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post
LETTERS, DRAMA and MUSIC
Fiction – No award
Drama – “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes
History – “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” by the late Manning Marable (Viking)
Biography – “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” by John Lewis Gaddis (The Penguin Press)
Poetry – “Life on Mars” by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press)
General Nonfiction – “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern,” by Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton and Company)
Music – “Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts” by Kevin Puts (Aperto Press)