The Pulitzer board dropped the ball on the 2011 fiction prize, so our staff felt compelled to pick it up. Sure, there's no money and little prestige attached to our nominations, but we figured that we'd join the chorus of those protesting the lack of an award this year by championing our own favorites.
This year's PEN Hemingway winner, Teju Cole for Open City. But a tough choice, so many great books this year, and especially so many great first novels, including the Hemingway finalists, Amy Waldman's The Submission and We Are Taking Only What We Need by Stephanie Watts, and of course The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht.
From Senior Publicist Caitlin Meyer:
All three finalists were great picks, but I’d have gone for Swamplandia! Karen Russell’s writing is a dream. Given that she’s just 30, and this was her first novel, and that she’s a woman, I would have liked to see her beat the odds and walk away with the prize.
Production Coordinator Beth Collins chafes against the Pulitzer's temporal and geographical constraints:
I don’t read a lot of fiction and I usually don’t read things when they first come out. I’m usually a few years behind. For example, my favorite work of fiction that I read in the past year was by A Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell which was published in 2010, but he’s not American so he’s not eligible.
I thought it was fantastic for Binocular Vision, a short story collection, to receive high honors from so many. I've been reading it a story at a time over the last month, loving that I'm able to approach each piece individually, but it works as a collection as well.
Brittany Weippert in Business Operations throws out the Pulitzer guidelines and throws in her recommendations for Chuck Palaniuk's Choke and How I Became Stupid by Martin Page. Add your own favorite reads in the comments!