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Outcry over absent fiction Pulitzer

 
 
Reply Sat 21 Apr, 2012 06:28 pm
The Pulitzer Board seems to have shamed its own jury by declining to approve any of its finalists, and in turn to have shamed all of American letters, or at least its fiction output over the past year. Furthermore shame is endemic to the entire system of meting out prizes for creative endeavors. While awards are meant to commend, and thus to nurture art, they also hurt the very thing that is essential to making it.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2012/04/21/absence-pulitzer-prize-for-fiction-shames-literary-world-why-absence-pulitzer-fiction-good-thing-prize-reflection-some-real-problems/n15EaG41fQETZkx5dg7SQM/story.html?p1=Well_BG_Links

Know any good books published last year that you think should have won?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 471 • Replies: 9
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boomerang
 
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Reply Sat 21 Apr, 2012 07:09 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
I thought that was so weird that they didn't give a prize.

I read a few really good books over the last year but to be honest I have no idea if they were published last year or not. Ever since I got a Kindle I haven't paid attention to "what's new" v. what isn't.

My neighbor was telling me about "Swamplandia" she had really liked it so I intend to read it. I heard it was nominated.....
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Sat 21 Apr, 2012 07:20 pm
@boomerang,
I have to confess, boomer, that the last few years I've been avoiding reading books off the so-called Best Seller lists. It has started to amaze me what total crap people like to read these days and elevate third-rate hacks like ... ok, I won't mention names...to the status of incredibly wealthy best-selling authors. There are millionaire authors out there who, in my opinion, can't write their way out of a paper bag. If they were in any creative composition class I was teaching, most of these people wouldn't get a passing grade.

Where are the Hemingways, the Steinbecks, the Faulkners of my youth? Those guys will still be read, even if only in university literature classes, 200 years from now. I can't think of anyone in the second half of the 20th century who measures up to those three.
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msolga
 
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Reply Sat 21 Apr, 2012 07:22 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Perhaps, in a absence of a "best book" prize , the award committee should simply have published the titles of all the books they believed were "worthy contenders"?
And why not? That would probably have been a fairer & more honest assessment.
To pretend that one writer's contribution is somehow superior to every other writers, simply cannot be true. A bit like comparing apples with oranges & declaring that apples are the better of the two ....:

Quote:
Prizes, by definition, are reductive (they whittle nominees to lists of finalists and then winners). Art, by its nature, seeks to fathom, and justly render, complexity. Prizes are inherently divisive (they split the exalted from the rest). Art seeks inclusivity; it yearns to connect. As Richard Wilbur has said, “to insist, as all poets do, that all things are related to each other, comparable to each other, is to go toward making an assertion of the unity of all things.”.....


But then, I'm generally skeptical about prizes & awards, anyway ...
I mean, does receiving the best motion picture award actually mean that that film was the best in any given yeah? Hardly.
Or does receiving the Nobel Peace Prize mean that the recipient contributed most toward a more peaceful world? Of course not. And there have been some quite controversial & dubious "winners" of that honour! Wink
Is the winner of the Miss World contest necessarily the most ravishing woman on the planet? Nah. Smile ......

Prizes usually tell us more about the preferences & biases of the judges that year, or some underlying agenda of the award.

As for nominating a book (or books) published in the last year .... as books have become so expensive (especially in Oz!) these days I rarely get to read them soon after publication. But I often do appreciate them a bit down the track when they've been pre-loved & are affordable.


Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Sat 21 Apr, 2012 07:25 pm
@msolga,
I agree, msolga. I'm generally quite skeptical about prizes also. Too many undeserving (imo) people get them and too many derving people (again, just my opinion) get passed over for whatever reason.
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msolga
 
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Reply Sat 21 Apr, 2012 08:38 pm
A list of previous winners (& finalists) of the Pulitzer Prize (Fiction).

I must confess I'm not too familiar with quite a few of the winners.

And I see that this is not the first time there hasn't been a declared winner. It's happened a few times before.:

http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/Fiction
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Sat 21 Apr, 2012 08:59 pm
@msolga,
Thank you for posting that link, msolga. I'm not familiar with many of those writers either.
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Irishk
 
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Reply Sat 21 Apr, 2012 10:03 pm
Ann Patchett shares her thoughts on this year's committee decision...(she wrote a 2011 fiction favorite of NPR, State of Wonder)...

And The Winner Isn't...

Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2012 01:42 am
@Irishk,
Interesting. Thanx for posting that, Irish.
Irishk
 
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Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2012 09:04 am
@Lustig Andrei,
This article is much better in terms of insider info -- written by someone who actually served as a jurist selecting works for Pulitzer consideration a couple of years ago. If Ms. Patchett is taking the snub somewhat personally, reading this may serve to show that she's actually in pretty good company.

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/16/pulitzers_snub_fiction/
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