THE DIGEST: No Winner for Fiction Pulitzer Prize Award
By Chelsea Johnson | English major
Here’s this week’s biggest news. As always, we’ve digested it for you.
Amidst the GOP race and Korean missile launches, the announcement of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize awards may have fallen by the wayside. Yet, for the first time in thirty-five years, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction wasn’t awarded.
The Associated Press reported that the judges were able to narrow the race down to three finalists, but weren’t able to decide on a winner. The three finalists were “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell, “Train Dreams” by Denis Johnson, and “The Pale King” by David Foster Wallace.
However, for a majority of the U.S. publishing industry, a list of three finalists wasn’t enough.
Chairwoman and Pulitzer fiction juror Susan Larson said that the decision to deny a winner wasn’t up to the jury. “The decision not to award the prize this year rested solely with the Pulitzer board,” Larson said.
Although a winner wasn’t selected, the recent buzz has boosted sales for the three finalists. All three nominees were in the top 500 on Amazon.com, and some versions of “Train Dreams” weren’t available in stock.
The good news is that the semester is set to end in less than two weeks, so you can decide for yourself if one of these works deserved the winning spot. With the help of Goodreads.com, here are my “SparkNotes” versions:
“The Pale King,” by David Foster Wallace
Protagonist David Foster Wallace arrives at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Il. as a new trainee. Yet, the monotony of survival-training soon becomes eclipsed by the varying personalities of the other trainees and the revelation that humanity and respect will be harder to come by in his new life.
With the gator-wrestling industry on the decline, thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree is left to manage ninety-eight gators, her tumultuous family life, and her alligator-infested home, Swamplandia!
Set in the early twentieth century, day laborer Robert Grainer has lost his family and is struggling to find himself. The time period and the American West landscape color the portrait of new American life and Grainer’s transformation into his new world.
For more quick digests of the latest news, check back here on THE DIGEST blog every Friday. (This article was compiled with Associated Press sources.)