The Pulitzer jury named Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad this year’s winner in the fiction category.
Here are this year’s Pulitzer winners and finalists with bonus links:
Winner: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker
The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery by Micki McElya
Winner: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson
Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It by Larrie D. Ferreiro
New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America by Wendy Warren
Biography or Autobiography:
Winners and finalists in other categories are available at the Pulitzer Web site.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction, some terrific stuff. Say you’re writing a sentence and the noun you’ve chose is “ferocity.” Some writers would let that noun stand on its own, but you decide to intensify it with an adjective. Which one? Well, if you come up with the word “warthog,” then your name is Michael Paterniti and you’re the most talented essayist in the land. Your latest book of essays is called Love and Other Ways of Dying, of which too much good cannot be said. I was also blown away by David France’s chronicle of the AIDS epidemic, How To Survive a Plague. The subject matter is too bleak for you? Actually, no. You’d be selling yourself short. Yeah, it’s a heartbreaking story, but it’s also a funny and, in the end, uplifting. Susan Faludi’s terrific memoir In the Darkroom is ostensibly about her transgender father, who becomes a woman at age 70, but it’s about so much more — the weight of history upon individuals, the interconnectedness of all the forces that make us who we are. It’s also a study of fascism: how its seeds are sewn and nourished through fear and scapegoating. Need I say that it’s timely reading?
Fiction? Well, the best novel I read this autumn is a bit of a sleeper, though its fans are oh-so-passionate. Derek B. Miller’s Norwegian by Night is one of those books that completely transcends its genre and offers us one of the most memorable characters — Sheldon Horowitz — that I’ve encountered in years. If you like those other Scandihoovian thriller writers, this is your book.
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The recipients of the 2016 Kirkus Prize have been announced, among them the novel The Sport of Kings by C. E. Morgan and In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi, a meditation on her father’s gender transition, in the non-fiction category. We reviewed two of the other fiction finalists this year: Carousel Court (here) and The Underground Railroad (here).