The Pulitzer Awards were just announced, and oddly enough, there was no selection for the fiction category. You heard me right. There was no Pulitzer Prize granted to a work of fiction from 2011. So how could this possibly happen? A mistake? A missed deadline? An oversight?
According to Laura Miller, it’s no mistake. The Pulitzer panel simply decided not to grant the award.
Miller, who served on the Pulitzer jury a several years ago, reveals the process of selection. “The first tier is the jury’s selection. Three jurors (usually an academic, a critic and a fiction writer) are responsible for wading through huge boxfuls of books. Anyone can submit his or her book to the Pulitzer competition for a small fee, and believe me: anyone does.”
The jury selects three titles and recommends them to the Pulitzer Board. This Board chooses the winner from the recommended batch for each category of the Pulitzer Prize. The board may also choose to select a title that is not on the jury’s list, but, according to Miller, this rarely happens.
Just to clarify
This seems to be how it went down:
Jury: “Hey, Board, we’ve read a ton books – actually, literally speaking, at least two or three tons of books. Basically, a shitload of books. But, we’ve finally narrowed it done to three books which we all agree are the best and most deserving works of fiction. So, uh, we’ll just leave these here for you to take a look at, and uh, tell us what you think. k? thnx.”
Board: “Um…… no.”
Jury: “Oh. Ok. I guess those three picks weren’t your faves. It’s cool. Of course, there always is the option of you just choosing whatever book you want. Any book. At all. Just let us know. k? thnx.”
Board: “Uhhh. Hmmmm. Yeahno. Maybe next year.”
Seriously? You have one job, Panel. One job! You can’t just pass. Continue reading “WTF Happened With The 2011 Fiction Pulitzer”