Competition was so stiff in 2012, the finalists alone read like a Pulitzer Prize Hall of Fame and the competition was described as “unusually competitive”. Finalists included Junot Diaz who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which I read and really enjoyed. He got into the finalists gang this year with his latest work This Is How You Lose Her.
Also on the finalists list was Dave Eggers, frequently cited as one of the most gifted writers in American contemporary literature. I have read just one of his books Zeitoun about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and it is so powerful, he was up for his latest book A Hologram for the King. It’s set in Saudi Arabia and concerns an American businessman who’s travelled to the country in an attempt to revive his flagging career. The full list of finalists is available here
But onto the winners for this year – some good book club picks and Christmas present ideas below.
The Round House is a novel about a teenage boy’s effort to investigate an attack on his mother on a North Dakota reservation, and his struggle to come to terms with the violence in their culture. She accepted the award in part in her Native American language and said she wanted to acknowledge “the grace and endurance of native women.”
Pretty impressive result for Katherine Boo considering this is her debut novel however this is the same Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Katherine Boo who writes for The New Yorker so maybe not so surprising. It is described as a deeply affecting account of the life of families living in the slums around Mumbai.
Another great result from a debut novel. Goblin’s Secrets is described as ‘breaking the mold’ in chikdren’s books. The story is set in the town of Zombay and centres around Rownie, a little boy who joins a theatrical troupe of goblins to find his missing brother Rowan. Aimed at ages 8+
The 88-year-old Ferry, whose collection swirls around the questions — both essential and superficial — of our mortal lives, teared up as he accepted his award, admitting that he didn’t think he had a chance to win because of his age, and calling the award a ”pre-posthumous” honor. The judges praised his work as ”singing about the human condition as casually and ferociously as it is lived.”
Honourary prizes were given to New York Times publisher and chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr and novelist Elmore Leonard.
Each winner receives £6,300 and were chosen from a list of 1300 books on the original submission list in the 63rd annual National Book awards.