Who is going to win the Pulitzer Prize 2010?

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The winner of the 2010 Pulitzer prize is going to be revealed on Monday 12th April. I am looking forward to seeing who will win, but as I’m not American I find it very hard to predict.

If I was going to give an award to the best book published by an American author in 2009 I’d give it to Jonathan Littell. It is amazing that he was able to create such an outstanding work in a second language and I am very impressed by the book’s scope and emotional power.

Unfortunately I don’t think books in translation are eligible and the Pulitzer prize for fiction is awarded for:

distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.

The Kindly Ones is set in Europe during WWII, so it doesn’t meet the ideal Pulitzer requirements of a truly American novel.

The best qualifying books I’ve read this year are:

I loved The Help and it deals with issues that the Pulitzer judges will love, but although it was included on the Orange long list I don’t think that it contains enough literary elements for a Pulitzer win.

The Great Perhaps is the best American book I’ve read this year, but I haven’t heard anyone else mention it. I would love to see it win, but I haven’t read that many American novels this year – perhaps there is a better one lurking in my stacks?

Thanks to the wonderful world of blogging I have quite a few potential Pulitzer winners in my TBR pile. The praise these books have received leads me to think that the Pulitzer winner is somewhere amongst them.

If I was forced to choose then I’d put my money on Lark and Termite, as it has received impressive praise:

….a true work of art, literature that makes other contemporary novels seem flat by contrast… San Francisco Chronicle

…. an electrifying novel…. National Book Critics Circle

….reverberates with echoes of Faulkner, Woolf, Kerouac, McCullers and Michael Herr’s war reporting… New York Times

Have you read Lark and Termite? Do you think it will win the Pulitzer?

Who do you think will win the Pulitzer prize this year?

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  1. Michele Brouder says:

    I loved ‘The Help’ it was a stunning novel. I would love to see it win the Pulitzer.

    1. Jackie says:

      Michele, It was a fantastic read! It is good to see that lots of people are enjoying it.

  2. I haven’t read any of them! However, I’m a big fan of Richard Russo, and do have his new one on my TBR pile, so I’d vote for him.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, I haven’t read many US books either. It takes a while for some of them to make it over here. I haven’t read any Russo yet, but I think I will enjoy his books. I hope I’ll get round to reading one soon.

  3. I couldn’t begin to tell you, Jackie, but I’ll be interested in finding out.

    It may be The Maples Stories by John Updike; as he died last night they may want to award it to him.

    Like you I don’t think it will be The Help; I loved the book but it isn’t a prize-winner.

    I’ll need to look into Lark and Termite as I hadn’t heard of it until now.

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I didn’t know that Updike had died – sad news. :-( I haven’t heard much about his book. Are authors allowed to win the Pulitzer once they’ve died?

      1. Yes, last January :( His book sounds interesting as it is short stories about one couple. Unlike the Booker I think that the Pultizer can be awarded posthumously but it’s a prize I don’t know much about excluding the last few winners.

        1. P.S. He won the Pulitzer in the past but I don’t know if that makes a difference.

          1. Jackie says:

            Claire, From what I’ve read previous winners seem more likely to win the Pulitzer -I think the system must be similar to the Booker in that the books of previous winners get through to the judging more easily. I don’t really have any idea though – I couldn’t find details of the rules any where.

  4. Laura says:

    Well Jackie, I’m American and I, too, find the Pulitzer hard to predict. I wish they would do the longlist/shortlist thing like the Booker & Orange Prizes. It’s really complete speculation when you have no idea which books are even being considered. Having said that, you have some pretty good predictions there. I haven’t read a single one of them, but they’ve all garnered praise. In fact, just last weekend I saw a woman in Starbucks reading Lark & Termite and almost approached her to ask about it … but I chickened out.

    Looking forward to the prize announcement in any case!

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, I do love being able to see the long/short lists. I think it really adds to my excitement as I’m able to look at the books being considered and decide which one I think deserves to win – it spreads the anticipation over several months instead of a single week.

  5. Steph says:

    I have no idea what will win, but like you, I don’t think The Help will nab the title (now just watch it do so! ;) ). As Laura said, it’s hard to know what’s even being considered, so I’ll be interested to see what ultimately wins!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, LOL! I do wonder if it will win – just to prove us wrong!

  6. Andi says:

    I’m horrible at predicting prize winners, and I’m also horrible at reading them. In particular, I seem to have shoddy luck with Pulitzers in the fiction department. There have been a few I liked, but for the most part I find them a bust. Hopefully my luck will change one of these days!

    1. Jackie says:

      Andi, I have loved almost all of the (very few) Pulitzers I’ve read. Hopefully I’ll like the 2010 winner too.

  7. Heidi says:

    This website does a pretty good job predicting pulitzer winners. Here is the link http://www.pprize.com/Discussions.php/2010-Prediction.
    The award can be given posthumously and multiple times to the same person. Let the Great World Spin I think has a great shot at winning. Although I haven’t read it yet!

    1. kimbofo says:

      That’s a great link… Despite my comment below, McCann must be eligible. If that’s the case then my money goes on him. It certainly fulfils the “American life” criteria.

      1. Jackie says:

        Heidi, Great link – thank you! It is good to know a little more about the Pulitzer rules.

        I got a copy of Let the Great World Spin yesterday so I might read it in the next few weeks – especially if it wins.

  8. Sandy says:

    I would think you of all people would be the most qualified to predict Jackie! I loved The Help for so many reasons. I am thrilled to see it so widely read. At least over here on our side of the pond, it is a viral sensation. Plus the audio was nominated for an Audie! I haven’t read any of the others, although I did just start Let The Great World Spin on audio.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I look forward to your thoughts on the audio of Let the Great World Spin. I don’t think The Help has been as successful over here, but I don’t know why I say that as really I have no idea about sales figures!

  9. kimbofo says:

    If Let the Great World Spin is eligible it might win it, but I’m not convinced McCann is an American citizen. He’s Irish and lives in New York, but I don’t know what his residency status is — perhaps someone else might? Mind you, I read this book last year, and despite all the rave reviews and accolades I didn’t think he pulled it off — too ambitious and lacking narrative drive, IMHO.

    I think you’re right about the Kindly Ones — and it’s probably not eligible on the basis that it was first published in 2006 anyway.

    1. Jackie says:

      kimbofo, I have no idea of McCann’s citizenship, but I thought that because he won the National Book Award he must be eligible. I don’t really know the rules for each prize though, so it is all just guessing.

      I don’t know whether books in translation are eligible, but The Kindly Ones was published in the US for the first time in 2009 – I wouldn’t have thought the French edition in 2006 would count, but I’d love to know either way.

  10. stujallen says:

    ferris is one that might be up there ,the help has sold well in america hard to say maybe a quality writer like moore ,updike or such like .

    1. Jackie says:

      stujallen, For some reason I didn’t think Ferris was American – I imagine him as Irish! I wonder where I get these weird assumptions from?

      1. Stujallen says:

        had a look a past winners and lorrie moore hasn’t won before so maybe a gate at the stairs

  11. Jackie, I can never predict these things. I pretty much just look to you. ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      J.T. I’m not sure that is the best idea, but thanks!

  12. Satu says:

    I’ve read Lark and Termite and although I’m not the biggest fan myself, I think it might very well be prize-winning material. The book has some great things in it, but I found it also to be a bit boring in places.

    1. Jackie says:

      Satu, Sorry to hear that Lark and Termite has some boring sections in it. I do plan to read it at some point, so I hope I enjoy it a bit more than you did.

  13. JoAnn says:

    The Pulitzer is a tough one to predict! Of the books mentioned I’ve read The Help, That Old Cape Magic, and Let the Great World Spin. All three were excellent, but Let the Great World Spin seems most like the ‘type’ of book that could win…. I don’t know the specific eligibility rules though.

    Haven’t read Lark and Termite, but hope to eventually. I’m looking forward to the announcement on the 12th!

    1. Jackie says:

      JoAnn, They all sound really good to me. I should probably read Empire Falls before That Old Cape Magic, but hopefully I’ll get round to them all at some point.

  14. Goddess says:

    I am happy I came across your blog. It’s good.
    Thank you


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