By The New York Times
The 2018 Pulitzer Prizes were announced this week at Columbia University.
Endowed by the newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer and first awarded in 1917, the prizes acknowledge achievement in journalism as well as in American letters. Previous winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction include Willa Cather, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and Eudora Welty.
Andrew Sean Greer received this year’s fiction award for his novel “Less.” In his assessment, which appeared on the cover of the Book Review, Christopher Buckley wrote, “It’s no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful.”
The prize for history went to Jack E. Davis’s “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea,” a look at the planet’s 10th largest body of water, the Gulf of Mexico. In our cover review, Philip Connors noted “the story reads like a watery version of the history of the American West.”
Caroline Fraser’s study of the author of the seminal American classic “Little House on the Prairie” (among other books) received the prize for biography. On the Book Review’s cover, Patricia Nelson Limerick wrote that “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder” (one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2017) "deserves recognition as an essential text for getting a grip on the dynamics and consequences of this vast literary enterprise.”
“Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America” was awarded the prize in general nonfiction. A study of America’s incarceration system by James Forman Jr., a professor at Yale Law School, “Locking Up Our Own” was also selected as one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2017. On the cover of the Book Review, Khalil Gibran Muhammad praised Forman’s book as “a masterly account of how a generation of black elected officials wrestled with recurring crises of violence and drug use in the nation’s capital.” And writing in the daily Arts section, The Times’s critic Jennifer Senior called the book “superb and shattering.”
The prize for poetry was awarded to Frank Bidart, for “Half-Light: Collected Poems, 1965-2016,” which also received the 2017 National Book Award. Writing in the Book Review, Major Jackson noted that Bidart’s poems are “an occasion for metaphysical speculation as intense and oracular as any Shakespearean monologue or philosophic treatise.”