2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

April 16, 2013

Joseph Pulitzer’s 1904 will provided for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes to encourage excellence in their fields. Four prizes in letters and drama were established: those were to go to an American novel, an original American play performed in New York, a book on the history of the United States, and an American biography. The first Pulitzers were awarded in 1917. In 1964 a Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction was included.

Last year’s Pulitzer judges failed to award a prize for fiction but yesterday they mended their ways.

Fiction Winner:
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
“The Orphan Masters Son” follows a young mans journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the worlds most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea. Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother–a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang–and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Fiction Finalists:
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

General Non-Fiction Winner:
Devil In The Grove by Gilbert King
Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.

General Non-Fiction Finalists:
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell

History Winner:
Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall
The struggle for Vietnam occupies a central place in the history of the twentieth century. Fought over a period of three decades, the conflict drew in all the worlds powers and saw two of them–first France, then the United States–attempt to subdue the revolutionary Vietnamese forces. For France, the defeat marked the effective end of her colonial empire, while for America the war left a gaping wound in the body politic that remains open to this day. How did it happen?

History Finalists:
The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 by Bernard Bailyn
Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History by John Fabian Witt

Biography or Autobiography Winner:
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
Born to a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman in present-day Haiti, Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but then made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy.

Biography or Autobiography Finalists:
Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece by Michael Gorra
The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw