Pulitzer judges admit defeat in search for literary star
And the winner is... nobody. The publishing industry's annual search for its latest Great American Novel ended with a resounding thud after it emerged there will be no Pulitzer Prize for fiction for the first time in 35 years.
The board which presides over the prestigious awards failed to reach a required majority agreement on which of 2012's three shortlisted titles deserved to join the ranks of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Old Man and the Sea on its list of winning texts.
"Thus, after lengthy consideration, no prize was awarded," the prize's administrator, Sig Gissler, announced. "There were multiple factors involved in these decisions, and we don't discuss in detail why a prize is given or not given."
The decision has sparked a mixture of sombre chin-scratching and outright anger. To a publishing industry mired in commercial gloom, Pulitzers represent an increasingly rare opportunity to make stars of an author and create an overnight best-seller.
It was also criticised by the three judges who had waded through more than 340 novels to select three books worthy of being presented to the Pulitzer's board for consideration.
Susan Larson, one of the trio, said she was "shocked, angry and very disappointed" at the decision. "This was a lot of work," she said on NPR radio yesterday. "We would have been happy if any of [the three] books had been selected."
The titles Ms Larson and her two colleagues presented to the 20-strong board were The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, Karen Russell's Swamplandia and Denis Johnson's Train Dreams. To win, one of them needed support from a majority of the 18 voting journalists, academics and public intellectuals.
One reason for the lack of decision may have been the unconventional nature of the three shortlisted books. The Pale King was incomplete when Mr Foster Wallace committed suicide in 2008, and was pulled together from manuscripts. Train Dreams, a novella, was originally published in a magazine ten years ago, and so was not technically a new piece of fiction when it was released. Swamplandia was the only new and completed novel.
The board has failed to unite around a winner worthy to receive the $10,000 Fiction prize just 11 times in the 96-year history of the Pulitzers, which were established by the publisher Joseph Pulitzer to recognise excellence in American journalism, music, and literature.
It had better luck in selecting winners in this year's 20 other categories. Among the noteworthy recipients was Sara Ganim, 24, a newspaper reporter who broke the story of a sex abuse scandal at Penn State University.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas TV guide 2013: Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
The Harry Hill Movie, film review: Screenplay isn't so much offbeat as utterly feeble
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >