Monday, April 16, 2012

Pulitzer For Fiction: Please, Not The 1970s Again!

2012 Pulitzer for fiction:  No Award Given.


So. Not. Happy.  It's like those years when you're around a bunch of people that don't know that it's your birthday.  There's an emptiness, an echo.  I feel like I got out of bed for nothing.

The committee *did* come up with 3 finalists:  Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace.  I won't say it's cold comfort, but mighty coolish.

This hasn't happened since the 1970s.  There was no award for fiction in 1971, 1974 or 1977.  What if the 2010s are the 1970s all over again?

No Award Given.  N.A.G.  Yeah, this is going to nag at me all year.

9 comments:

Peter D. Sieruta said...

I hear ya and I agree! Boo, hiss! Just from casual reading about the award, I've heard that "no award" often means that the committee (or the higher ups at Columbia University, who have the final say and CAN overule the commitee) often means they feel that none of the nominees is QUITE deserving of the award. This has happened several times in the Drama category over the years. Of the three years from the seventies you site, I heard that the committee actually DID choose a winner in both 1974 and 1977, but Columbia University turned down these selections and did offer up another book in their place. In 1974 the committee chose GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon, but Columbia found the book too lurid for the prize. In 1977 they chose A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT by Norman Maclean but Columbia decided the book was autobiographical, not fiction. (Though I've heard rumors that they just didn't want to give it to an elderly unknown author published by a small press...though there have certainly been unknown authors before and since 1977 and even some Pulitzers for books published by small presses.)

Peter D. Sieruta said...

Arrrgh...I probably should have proofread that word salad before pressing "send." Sorry for all the errors and typos!

Peter

Bybee said...

Peter,
It's OK...It's been a rough day.

Sam Sattler said...

Well, this is just STUPID. Don't they realize that for book lovers this is like the strike that canceled the World Series? Come on, people...

Bybee said...

Sam,
It's like the Oscars neglected to award Best Movie or Best Actress.

Tami said...

I'm especially disgruntled on behalf of the three authors who were nominated. Being beaten by another book/author would be sad, but acceptable. Being beaten by "nothing" would be a slap in the face.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I was so frustrated too!!! I think that sometimes those award list can be great ways for people to find new books. It's sad this year won't have one at all.

Kathleen said...

It is really annoying that they couldn't just pick one. I feel bad for all of the indie bookstores that would have sold lots of copies of the winner too!

Susan said...

I think it's worse that Columbia University has the final say on who wrote the best book that year. Obviously I need to go read about who judges these things. Meanwhile, I'm sad for the nominated books - like the commentator before me says, how do those authors who were nominated feel, that they weren't good enough to win and no one won that year? Plus like Kathleen said - surely one book is worthy?