The annual Pulitzer Prizes were announced on 16 April, with the exception of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction which was not awarded this year.
Instead, the board announced three finalists in the fiction category at the same time as the winners in the history, biography, poetry and general nonfiction categories were announced. It was the first time the board had declined to award a fiction prize since 1977, reported Publishers Weekly, and the ninth time the board had not awarded a winner since the prizes were established in 1918.
The three fiction finalists, chosen by the fiction jury of Susan Larson, Maureen Corrigan and Michael Cunningham, were:
- Train Dreams (Denis Johnson, Picador US)
- Swamplandia! (Karen Russell, Vintage)
- The Pale King (David Foster Wallace, Penguin).
The winners in each of the other categories were:
- History: Malcolm X: A Life in Reinvention (Manning Marable, Viking)
- Biography: George F Kennan: An American Life (John Lewis Gaddis, Penguin US)
- Poetry: Life on Mars (Tracy K Smith, Graywolf Press)
- General nonfiction: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (Stephen Greenblatt, WW Norton).
Each prize winner is awarded US$10,000.
Fiction juror Larson said the jury was ‘shocked, angry, and very disappointed’ that the board had not selected a winner from their fiction finalists. In an NPR interview Larson said the hope was now that people will ‘read three books instead of one’.