Pulitzer Prizes

2013 Pulitzer Prizes Announced

Earlier this week the 2013 Pulitzer Prizes were announced.

Orphan Master's Son book coverEmbers of War book coverBlack Count book coverStag's Leap book coverDevil in the Grove book cover

Fiction fans breathed a sigh of relief when Stanford professor Adam Johnson received the award for his novel The Orphan Master's Son. If you remember, last year’s Pulitzers created quite a controversy when no fiction winner was chosen despite three excellent contenders (Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace).

Here are the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning books, with descriptions from the Pulitzer juries:


The Orphan Master's Son
by Adam Johnson
“An exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.”

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
by Nathan Englander
“A diverse yet consistently masterful collection of stories that explore Jewish identity and questions of modern life in ways that can both delight and unsettle the reader.”

The Snow Child
by Eowyn Ivey
“An enchanting novel about an older homesteading couple who long for a child amid the hard wilderness of Alaska and a feral girl who emerges from the woods to bring them hope.”


Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
by Fredrik Logevall
“A balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war.”

The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675
by Bernard Bailyn
“A luminous account of how the British colonies took root amid raw brutality, often with terrible consequences for the settlers as well as the native population.”

Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History
by John Fabian Witt
“A striking work examining how orders issued by President Lincoln to govern conduct on battlefields and in prisons during the Civil War have shaped modern laws of armed conflict.”


The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
by Tom Reiss
“A compelling story of a forgotten swashbuckling hero of mixed race whose bold exploits were captured by his son, Alexander Dumas, in famous 19th century novels.”

Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece
by Michael Gorra
“An elegant and enlightening book that brings together the complicated life of a great author and the evolution of his great novel, "The Portrait of a Lady."

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy
by David Nasaw
“A monumental work that tells the story of the relentless tycoon who created a dynastic family that helped shape modern American history and also suffered immense tragedy.”


Stag's Leap
by Sharon Olds
“A book of unflinching poems on the author’s divorce that examine love, sorrow and the limits of self-knowledge. “

Collected Poems
by Jack Gilbert
“A half century of poems reflecting a creative author’s commitment to living fully and honestly and to producing straightforward work that illuminates everyday experience with startling clarity.”

The Abundance of Nothing
by Bruce Weigl
“A powerful collection of poems that explore the trauma of the Vietnam War and the feelings that have never left many of those who fought in the conflict.”


Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America
by Gilbert King
“A richly detailed chronicle of racial injustice in the Florida town of Groveland in 1949, involving four black men falsely accused of rape and drawing a civil rights crusader, and eventual Supreme Court justice, into the legal battle.”

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
by Katherine Boo
“An engrossing book that plunges the reader into an Indian slum in the shadow of gleaming hotels near Mumbai’s airport, revealing a complex subculture where poverty does not extinguish aspiration.”

The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature
by David George Haskell
“A fascinating book that, for a year, closely follows the natural wonders occurring within a tiny patch of old-growth Tennessee forest.”

 Visit from the Goon Squad book coverBrief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao book coverThe Road book coverKnown World book coverMiddlesex book cover

I have truly loved reading some of the Pulitzer winners over the last decade, namely A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Known World by Edward P. Jones, and Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Have you had any great Pulitzer reading experiences? Or, are you feeling inspired to read any of this year’s award winners?


Posted on 4/19/2013 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library.