As they get ready to announce the Pulitzers, over at The Atlantic Wire our beloved book critic Maureen Corrigan reflects on the upheaval over last year’s awards. Along with the novelist Michael Cunningham and editor Susan Larson, Maureen was one of the jurors for the 2012 fiction prize. They passed on their recommendations to the Pulitzer board (which has final say) and were as shocked as the rest of us to learn there would be no prize awarded that year for fiction.
Corrigan told me, “It was a terrible day last year. I think my fellow judges and I are cautiously optimistic that the board will complete its job this year; otherwise we probably all wish the Pulitzer anniversary speeds by as quickly and painlessly as possible. It’s so crucial that extraordinary writing be recognized and brought to the attention of a wider audience and prizes like the Pulitzer can do that.”
There were a couple of high points to hang onto, though. As much as she still feels disappointed about the failure to choose a winner, the reading experience itself was wonderful, Corrigan explained, the sort of thing she’d yearned for in grad school, “like being in the most intense and tiniest book club,” she said. “We did clash and argue, but God, we took it seriously. That’s the part that really made me angry: We heard when everyone else did that there would be no prize, and that there would be no explanation. I think if you don’t give out the prize, you have to give a reason.”
UPDATE: Full list of Pulitzer winners here.