Pulitzer Prediction 2022

The Pulitzer Prizes will be announced on Monday, May 9 so I will give my prediction this evening. Of course, the category that I am interested in is Fiction.

I will be watching the livestream during lunch tomorrow.

My prediction may not be correct as it is  based more on the original intent of Joseph Pulitzer.

Here is the original stipulation from his will:

Annually, for the American novel published during the year which shall best present the whole atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood, One thousand dollars ($1,000).

Here is the current stipulation from the Pulitzer website:

For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

To me the prize comes down to three things; American author, American life and that it is a novel.

Usually all the material in short story collections have been written over a period of time and have been previously published. I believe that the Pulitzer should be given only for work published in the previous year.

Each year PPrize.com issues a list of books on their prediction page. It does change over time as book awards are announced and the rankings are updated. However, I try to read most of the ones listed to see if I can read the winner before it is announced.

A note on the covers. All of these were checked out from the library and I scanned the covers.

Here are some of my thoughts.

I am not going to review all the books that I read, but will only mention a few.

First, I will share my prediction:

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Dubois, Jeffers, Pulitzer, predictionMy prediction for the Pulitzer is The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. I really enjoyed this book that followed a multi-racial family through the centuries in the American South.

Pulitzer, richard powers, bewildermentI enjoyed Bewilderment by Richard Powers and would be OK with this winning the Pulitzer. Since Powers is a previous winner it is less likely that he will win.

Pulitzer, colson whitehead, harlem shuffleAnother interesting book is Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. The last two books that Whitehead wrote both won Pulitzer prizes, but I don’t think the trend will continue with this one.

Loise Erdrich, The Sentence, Pulitzer, booksThe Sentence by Louis Erdrich is an interesting ghost story that revolves around a book store. I enjoyed the book, but not as much as other recent books by Erdrich.

Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr, pulitzer, booksThis year had quite a few former Pulitzer winners with good books. I really enjoyed Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, but do not feel that it fully met the criteria of American life. There were others that fit this much better.

The (Other) You, Joyce Carol Oates, short storiesThere were several books that were collections of short stores. One example is The (Other) You by Joyce Carol Oates. Most of the stories were previous published. However, the stories were not well connected and again do not meet my criteria for an American Novel.

It will be interesting to find out who the winner is and which books are named as finalists.

The Pulitzer selection process is interesting as a three or more member jury selects three books to submit to the members of the Pulitzer committee. The makeup of the jury is not made public until the announcement of the awards, so it is difficult to predict the Pulitzer.

My hope is that they continue the trend of the past few years where the jury provides three strong choices to the committee. Let the committee make the choice between three worthy recipients of the prize.


Update: My predictions were not even close. Just read the last two paragraphs of the post above as this is how it ended up this year. If I had known who was on the jury I would have been able to accurately predict the winner. More on this after I get a chance to read the finalists.

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