I suppose by now all of us readers & writers out there have heard the news from yesterday that no winner for Fiction was chosen by the Pulitzer committee this year. I don’t put much merit into fancy awards and whatnot as a measure of a writer’s worth, but it’s a head-scratcher to me. Really? A group of people couldn’t pick a winner? All three authors who were nominated are fantastic writers and well worth a prize (finalists: Karen Russell, Denis Johnson, David Foster Wallace [posthumously]).
Ann Patchett wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times today,
What I am sure of is this: Most readers hearing the news will not assume it was a deadlock. They’ll just figure it was a bum year for fiction… The Pulitzer Prize is our best chance as writers and readers and booksellers to celebrate fiction. This was the year we all lost.
Patchett’s final words ring true. When I saw the headlines yesterday, I felt scammed (This can’t be true!). I immediately thought that committee reckoned that there was no fiction worthy this year but then I saw the nominees. Alas, nothing much can be done except read more books and talk about them enthusiastically to everyone whether they want to hear or not.