Pprize.com is humbled: The website, dedicated to Pulitzer Prize speculation, has only been around since 2007 or so, but for the first two years of its existence it accurately included the winner and one of the two finalists in its fiction short list. There was a lot of buzz in the comments there that Jayne Anne Philips's Lark And Termite would take the award, and just a few nods in the direction of Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin. The jury seems to have surprised us all.
The award for fiction went to Tinkers by Paul Harding (not even included in Pprize's speculation) and the finalists were Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet and In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin. Like last year, I know little about any of these books. I'd heard murmurs about Tinkers but nothing substantial. I can tell you though, get your hardcover now if you want it. Seems to be Tinkers was a small press release and as of an hour after the announcement, they're running for $99 used on amazon-- just forty five minutes earlier the cost was half that. That's bound to drop in the coming months, but its rarity will be true in the long term as well.
The prize for Drama was given to Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's Next to Normal, which was not selected by the nominating jury. It is now only one of four musicals to have won the Pulitzer prize for Drama. I have not seen Next to Normal, but I have heard its soundtrack a handful of times, and as is the case with a musical, it tends to give you a relatively clear idea of the whole. I can't say I'm disappointed with the selection, but I will say I'm a bit surprised. Next to Normal was generally very well received, but it didn't win the Tony (Billy Elliot did) more over I've always thought its lyrics were lacking; the rhymes are predictable and the profusion of profanity is not only distracting but annoying. Its subject may (though this is an arguable point, I've always regarded it as a bit retardataire; the kind of work needed in the mid-late 90s) be poignant and harrowing but I've begun to regard it as downright unlistenable. But what do I know about music?
The finalists were The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph, and In the Next Room or the vibrator play by Sarah Ruhl.
The last point of interest, and that which was speculated on the most, was if the awards in Journalism would finally make a notable acknowledgement of online writing after a recent slack in qualifying rules. Well. The award for editorial cartooning went to an online outlet (Mark Fiore, SFGate.com) and the awards for Investigative Reporting and Breaking News Reporting both acknowledge online outlets. Is that notable? I'm not sure. Investigative reporting is the "big" one, so I presume so, but I really couldn't say.
Last year at this time, I had a life-long count of having read 4 Pulitzer winners for Fiction(/the novel). This year I have a life-long count of 7.