2016 Pulitzer Prizes: The Book + Drama Winners

by |April 19, 2016

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Reporters and editors all across the USA gathered in their newsrooms, poised for news of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize winners. Some like the Los Angeles Times had champagne at the ready. You see, the announcement of the Pulitzer winners is one of the most anticipated days on their calendar. Same goes for writers, photographers and cartoonists. And the announcements this year were extra special seeing as it’s the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzers.

The prizes, named for the pioneering newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, were established by Columbia University in 1917. There are 14 journalism categories, primarily recognizing the work of print newspapers, but also recognizing magazines and digital news organizations. There are five book categories, one drama category and one music composition.

Congratulations to the book and drama winners listed below!

sympathiserPulitzer Prize for Fiction:
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong.

The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

Learn more about The Sympathizer here


HamiltonPulitzer Prize for Drama:
Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Composed by)

17 selections from the critically acclaimed musical based on Alexander Hamilton’s biography which debuted on Broadway in August 2015 to unprecedented advanced box office sales.

Our collection features 17 selections in piano/vocal format from the music penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda, including: Alexander Hamilton, Burn, Dear Theodosia, Hurricane, It’s Quiet Uptown,  My Shot, One Last Time,  Satisfied,  That Would Be Enough, Washington on Your Side,  You’ll Be Back and more.

Learn more about Hamilton here


black-flagsPulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction:
Black Flags: The Rise of Isis by Joby Warrick

In a thrilling dramatic narrative, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread to become the world’s greatest threat. When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East.

Drawing on unique high-level access to global intelligence sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat.

Learn more about Black Flags here


Barbarian DaysPulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography:
Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

Barbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life. Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan started surfing as a child. He has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a distinguished writer and war reporter.

Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little understood art.

Learn more about Barbarian Days here


custer-s-trialsPulitzer Prize for History :
Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by  T.J. Stiles

A brilliant new biography of Gen. George Armstrong Custer that radically changes our view of the man and his turbulent times. In this magisterial biography, T. J. Stiles paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer’s legacy has been ignored. He demolishes Custer s historical caricature, revealing a volatile, contradictory, intense person capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military.

This biography captures the larger story of the changing nation in Custer s tumultuous marriage to his highly educated wife, Libbie; their complicated relationship with Eliza Brown, the forceful black woman who ran their household; as well as his battles and expeditions. It casts surprising new light on a near-mythic American figure, a man both widely known and little understood.

Learn more about Custer’s Trials here


ozonePulitzer Prize for Poetry:
Ozone Journal by Peter Balakian

The title poem of Peter Balakian’s Ozone Journal is a sequence of fifty-four short sections, each a poem in itself, recounting the speaker’s memory of excavating the bones of Armenian genocide victims in the Syrian desert with a crew of television journalists in 2009. These memories spark others – the dissolution of his marriage, his life as a young single parent in Manhattan in the nineties, visits and conversations with a cousin dying of AIDS, creating a montage that has the feel of history as lived experience.

Book ending this sequence are shorter lyrics that span times and locations, from Nairobi to the Native American villages of New Mexico. In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient; but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love.

Learn more about Ozone Journal here

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About the Contributor

Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.

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