Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pulitzer Prize for Best Novel - 1918-2007

1918 His Family Ernest Poole

1919 Magnificent Ambersons, The Booth Tarkington

1920 No Award

1921 Age of Innocence, The Edith Wharton

1922 Alice Adams Booth Tarkington

1923 One of Ours Willa Cather

1924 Able McLaughlins, The Margaret Wilson

1925 So Big Edna Ferber

1926 Arrowsmith Sinclair Lewis

1927 Early Autumn Louis Bromfield

1928 Bridge of San Luis Rey, The Thornton Wilder

1929 Scarlet Sister Mary Julia M. Peterkin

1930 Laughing Boy Oliver LaFarge

1931 Years Of Grace Margaret Ayer Barnes

1932 Good Earth, The Pearl S. Buck

1933 Store, The T. S. Stribling

1934 Lamb In His Bosom Caroline Miller

1935 Now In November Josephine W. Johnson

1936 Honey In The Horn Harold L. Davis

1937 Gone With The Wind Margaret Mitchell

1938 Late George Apley, The John P. Marquand

1939 Yearling, The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

1940 Grapes Of Wrath, The John Steinbeck

1941 No Award

1942 In This Our Life Ellen Glasgow

1943 Dragon's Teeth Upton Sinclair

1944 Journey In The Dark Martin Flavin

1945 Bell For Adano, A John Hersey

1946 No Award

1947 All The King's Men Robert Penn Warren

1948 Tales Of The South Pacific James A. Michener

1949 Guard Of Honor James Gould Cozzens

1950 Way West, The A. B. Guthrie, Jr.

1951 Town, The Herman B. Wouk

1953 Old Man And The Sea, The Ernest Hemingway

1954 No Award

1955 Fable, A William Faulkner

1956 Andersonville MacKinlay Kantor

1957 (Honorary Award) Kenneth Roberts

1958 Death In The Family, A James Agee

1959 Travels Of Jamie McPheeters, The Robert Lewis Taylor

1960 Advise And Consent Allen Drury

1961 To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee

1962 Edge Of Sadness, The Edwin O'Connor

1963 Reivers, The William Faulkner

1964 No Award

1965 Keepers Of The House, The Shirley Anne Grau

1966 Collected Stories Katharine Anne Porter

1967 Fixer, The Bernard Malamud

1968 Confessions Of Nat Turner, The William Styron

1969 House Made Of Dawn N. Scott Momaday

1970 Collected Stories Jean Stafford

1971 No Award

1972 Angle Of Repose Wallace Stegner

1973 Optimist's Daughter, The Eudora Welty

1974 No Award

1975 Killer Angels, The Michael Shaara

1976 Humboldt's Gift Saul Bellow

1977 No Award

1978 Elbow Room James Alan McPherson

1979 Stories Of John Cheever, The John Cheever

1980 Executioner's Song, The Norman Mailer

1981 Confederacy Of Dunces, A John Kennedy Toole

1982 Rabbit Is Rich John Updike

1983 Color Purple, The Alice Walker

1984 Ironweed William Kennedy

1985 Foreign Affairs Alison Lurie

1986 Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry

1987 Summons To Memphis, A Peter Taylor

1988 Beloved Toni Morrison

1989 Breathing Lessons Anne Tyler

1990 Mambo Kings Play Songs Of Love, The Oscar Hijuelos

1991 Rabbit At Rest John Updike

1992 Thousand Acres, A Jane Smiley

1993 Good Scent From A Stange Mountain, A Robert Olen Butler

1994 Shipping News, The E. Annie Proulx

1995 Stone Diaries, The Carol Shields

1996 Independence Day Richard Ford

1997 Martin Dressler Steven Millhauser

1998 American Pastoral Philip Roth

1999 Hours, The Michael Cunningham

2000 Interpreter Of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri

2001 Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier and Clay Michael Chabon

2002 Empire Falls Richard Russo

2003 Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides

2004 Known World, The Edward P. Jones

2005 Gilead Marilynne Robinson

2006 March Geraldine Brooks

2007 Road, The Cormac McCarthy

I'm about one-third of the way through The Known World by Edward P. Jones and I noticed that it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004. That got me to wondering about past winners and how many other Pulitzer Best Novels that I might have read. Since I don't normally pay much attention to literary prizes I had to go back and compile a list of past winners. I learned a couple of things in the process: I've actually read more of the winners than I anticipated (those shown in blue) and there have been numerous years in which no prize was awarded for Best Novel. I'm a bit embarrassed, too, to admit to not having yet read a few of the winners, but there are others on the list with which I'm not even familiar. That may be a bigger sin.


  1. You've read a lot more of them than I. I see only 4 there that I've read. There are some big ones that I'm embarrassed to have skipped(mainly To Kill A Mocking Bird). Btw, I see you've read The Shipping News. Supposedly about my home province, it felt so inaccurate. I didn't mind the story itself, it just felt like it was set somewhere else. The setting and especially the dialogue were so fake.

  2. John, I don't have any way to judge the accuracy or authenticity of "The Shipping News" but I best remember it for being a very tedious read. I can't say that I enjoyed it and I'm still kind of surprised that I actually finished it.

  3. I've only read 8, so you are doing pretty well I think!

  4. I tend to avoid books that have won ''prizes'' The most prestigious award over here is the Booker Prize, and it is often chosen for political reasons imo.

  5. Marg, I was surprised that I have read so many of them since the '70s because I wasn't really aware that most of those had actually won a Pulitzer Prize in the first place. I suppose that's what happens when a person spends so much time in bookstores. :-)

  6. Nick, while I don't actively avoid prize winning books, I tend to look upon them with a degree of suspicion until they give me another reason to read them. But I so seldom pay attention to the awarding of literary prizes that most of the ones on the Pulitzer list came as a complete surprise to me.

    I generally become aware of books that win prizes only when they are reprinted after winning and they include a blurb on their new cover about the prize.

  7. Like John I've only read 4. I'm impressed by how many you've read. I thought I would see several titles on my TBR list but I only saw a few. And I know the only book on the list I've read before it was chosen for the Pulitzer is The Road.

  8. I was surprised that I had a pretty good streak going from the seventies until this decade, Matt. But that's easily explained by the fact that some of my favorite authors were winning the Pulitzer, looks like.

  9. Hmmm...well it seems as if I clock in at seven, which is more than I thought I would. Of the ones I have read, I'd highly recommend Middlesex, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

  10. Thanks, I'll have to take a look at Middlesex. That's one with which I'm not at all familiar.

  11. Wow, I can't believe I've read 22 from this list. Most from the eighties til now. Did you love Angle of Repose, like I did? An amazing book. I also loved Stegner's Crossing to Safety, not nearly as well known, but a really great book.

  12. Angle of Repose is one of my favorite books and I've been meaning to read it again but never seem to get around to it. I'm always a little bit nervous about reading one of my favorites a second time because they don't always strike me the same way that they did the first time around but I have confidence that this one will.

    Crossing to Safety is another good Stegner book...I agree.

  13. 11 for me, and I wasn't trying, either! I really, really enjoyed Middlesex and I highly recommend it to any comers. I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't like Shipping News. I LIKE E. Annie Proulx, too. It seems strange to me that that's the one she won for. I wrote about Kavalier and Clay last month on my own blog, and have been meaning to get to the Milhauser. I love his short stories.

  14. Brownie, thanks for another vote for Middlesex. I keep forgetting to find that one but all this good chatter about it is going to finally do it for me. :-)