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.