The 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Goes to Viet Thanh Nguyen’s ‘The Sympathizer’

April 18, 2016 | 15 books mentioned 5


The Pulitzer jury named Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer this year’s winner in the fiction category.

Here are this year’s Pulitzer winners and finalists with bonus links:



General Nonfiction:


Biography or Autobiography:


Winners and finalists in other categories are available at the Pulitzer Web site.

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  1. Barbarian Days is by William Finnegan, not David I. Kertzer. I wouldn’t be such a stickler, but I read excerpts of that book in The New Yorker and the writing is phenomenal. Also, it’s on the front of the book image, just below the lists. Also, it was the winner, so proof-reading is a must before publishing.

  2. Mostly just happy that hack Coates didn’t win another award. Congrats to Stiles on a second history Pulitzer. Whatever one thinks about awards and whether or not they’re overrated or how truly “earned” they are, that’s a friggin’ helluvan achievement. I must admit I am more likely to check out The Sympathizer. I just hope it’s not some by-the-numbers refugee fable or immigrant story. Seems like it could be a Vietnamese version of Wiley’s Pen-Faulkner-winning Soldiers in Hiding. Interesting that it’s set in the mid-70s, that slice of history seems so recurrent right now on this side of the Pacific whether in Vinyl or City on Fire or in a lot of the indie rock bands seemingly to retrench themselves in an edgy 1970s rock vibe. I’m not loving Nguyen’s collectivism in interviews and excerpts (all that “on the shoulders of giants” rigmarole about how this wouldn’t have been possible without the trailblazers yada yada yada) but I guess I’ll have to read the man’s novel for myself to determine whether the Pulitzer they gave him is tokenism, awarding legitimate literature, some combination of the two or something else entirely. It’s certainly been shortlisted or the winner of a boatload of awards now, with the Pulitzer as the capper, now granting Nguyen lifetime membership in the contemporary canon. Hopefully the work merits such inclusion and he doesn’t become some overly politicized yawn-inducer like Junot Diaz or Edwidge Dandicat.

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