2011 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

April 21, 2011

The 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From The Goon Squad, an inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed. In addition to the $10,000 cash prize that goes with the Pulitzer, Egan’s book collected the best fiction award from the National Book Critic’s Circle, Booklist’s Top Of The List, and was a finalist for The Pen/Faulkner Award. Goon Squad was also named a Best Book for 2010 by Library Journal, an American Library Association Notable Book and one of The New York Times’  Ten Best Books Of 2010. Whew! If you haven’t been motivated to read the book by now, what else will convince you?

Other finalists in Fiction for the Pulitzer were:
The Privileges by Jonathan Dee, a contemporary, wide ranging tale about an elite Manhattan family, moral bankruptcy and the long reach of wealth; and
The Surrendered, by Chang-rae Lee,  a haunting and often heartbreaking epic whose characters explore the deep reverberations of love, devotion and war.

The Pulitzer Prize for History (of the United States) went to The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, by Eric Foner, a well orchestrated examination of Lincoln’s changing views of slavery, bringing unforeseeable twists and a fresh sense of improbability to a familiar story.

Also nominated as finalists in the History category were:
Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South, by Stephanie McCurry, an insightful work analyzing the experience of disenfranchised white women and black slaves who were left when Confederate soldiers headed for the battlefield; and
Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston, by Michael Rawson, an impressive selection of case studies that reveal how Boston helped shape the remarkable growth of American cities in the 19th century.

The winner in the Biography or Autobiography category was Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life, a sweeping, authoritative portrait of an iconic leader learning to master his private feelings in order to fulfill his public duties.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were:
The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century, by Alan Brinkley, a fresh, fair minded assessment of a complicated man who transformed the news business and showed busy Americans new ways to see the world; and
Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon, by Michael O’Brien, a graceful account of a remarkable journey by Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of a future president, who traveled with a young son across a Europe still reeling from warfare.

The Pulitzer Prize in General NonFiction was awarded to The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were:
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain, by Nicholas Carr, a thought provoking exploration of the Internet’s physical and cultural consequences, rendering highly technical material intelligible to the general reader; and
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, by S.C. Gwynne, a memorable examination of the longest and most brutal of all the wars between European settlers and a single Indian tribe.