Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pulitzer Day!

And what a fun Pulitzer day it was this year. Let's check out some highlights.

Fiction winner: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Like many, I was wowed by her first novel, The Secret History. I worked at Borders when her disappointing-to-many follow-up The Little Friend came out, so I touched it a lot every day for a year or two but it's never quite made it from my to-read stack to my currently reading stack. Last fall, whilst I was in China, The Goldfinch was released to reviews that called it everything from exhausting to the best book of the year. I noted it, hopefully, in my Book Sphere section of In The Red. We now see whose side the Pulitzer committee agrees with! I'm looking forward to the read.

Biography winner: Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall It's not that often that we get a biography winner whose author and subject are both women. It has happened, just not as often as at least one of those being male. In fact, the first Biography Pulitzer was awarded to two women (co-authors), Laura E. Richards and Maud Howe Elliott, for their book about their mother, Julia Ward Howe. Then it didn't happen again for decades, I believe not until Elizabeth Frank's Louise Bogan: A Portrait in 1986. Most recently was to Stacy Schiff for Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov). Anyway, Margaret Fuller is a fascinating figure and has always been someone I admire and aim to learn more about. I love me some transcendentalists and that whole era/place from which she emerged; I look forward to reading this one, too.

Poetry winner: 3 Sections  by Vijay Seshadri
Vijay Seshadri becomes the first Asian-American poet to win, it was repeatedly noted yesterday. He was born in India and came to the U.S. as a young child, later attending Oberlin and Columbia (I'm jealous!) His poems use delicate but full and smart language to capture tiny moments juxtaposed with big thoughts about the universe, from what I can see in the smattering that I've read.

Also exciting, in the journalism prizes, the Public Service prize went to The Washington Post and The Guardian U.S.  for their revelations of the NSA's widespread secret surveillance -- basically, for publishing Edward Snowden stuff. Here's to the free flow of information and truth!

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