Pulitzer Prize Winners

My interest in the Pulitzer Prize is a bit selfish. My goal is to win the prize myself someday soon.  I berate myself for not having started working toward that goal earlier. There are a few years when no award was given, and I wonder, Was that supposed to be my year? In 2012, that could have been my name on the list instead of those unsatisfactory words, ‘No Award Given’.

I wonder also, how the finalists felt. When you lose to someone better than you, that’s one thing. When you lose but there is no winner, what does that say about you? What does that say about the contest itself?

That’s why you can’t do it for the prize. Just like you can’t act hoping to get an Oscar nod. You can’t sing hoping to get a Grammy. As an artist, you do your craft because you love it. Because you’d do it even if no one noticed. The recognition and the prizes, well they just have to be an unnecessary bonus.

But I still want to win one someday 😀

Here is a list of the novels that won the Pulitzer Prize and the books that came close.


  • 2016: The Sympathizer/ Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • 2015: All The Light We Cannot See/ Anthony Doerr
  • 2014: The Goldfinch/ Donna Tart
  • 2013: The Orphan Master’s Son/ Adam Johnson
  • 2012: No Awardee
  • 2011: A Visit From The Goon Squad/ Jennifer Egan
  • 2010: Tinkers/ Paul Harding
  • 2009: Olive Kitteridge/ Elizabeth Strout
  • 2008: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao/ Junot Diaz
  • 2007: The Road/ Cormac McCarthy
  • 2006: March/ Geraldine Brooks
  • 2005: Gilead/ Marilynne Robinson
  • 2004: The Known World/ Edward P. Jones
  • 2003: Middlesex/ Jeffrey Eugenides
  • 2002: Empire Falls/ Richard Russo
  • 2001: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay/ Michael Chabon
  • 2000: Interpreter of Maladies/ Jhumpa Lahiri
  • 1999: The Hours/ Michael Cunningham
  • 1998: American Pastoral/ Philip Roth
  • 1997: Martin Dressler/ The Tale of an American
  • 1996: Independence Day/ Richard Ford
  • 1995: The Stone Diaries/ Carol Shields
  • 1994: The Shipping News/ E. Annie Proulx
  • 1993: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain/ Robert Olen Butler
  • 1992: A Thousand Acres/ Jane Smiley
  • 1991: Rabbit At Rest/ John Updike
  • 1990: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love/ Oscar Hijuelos
  • 1989: Breathing Lessons/ Anne Tyler
  • 1988: Beloved/ Toni Morrison
  • 1987: A Sum Summons to Memphis/ Peter Taylor
  • 1986: Lonesome Dove/ Larry McMurty
  • 1985: Foreign Affairs/ Alison Lurie
  • 1984: Ironweed/ William Kennedy
  • 1983: The Color Purple/ Alice Walker
  • 1982: Rabbit Is Rich/ John Updike
  • 1981: A Confederacy of Dunces/ John Kennedy Toole
  • 1980: The Executioner’s Song/ Norman Mailer
  • 1979: The Stories of John Cheever/ John Cheever
  • 1978: Elbow Room/ James Alan McPherson
  • 1977: No Awardee
  • 1976: Humbolt’s Gift/ Saul Bellow
  • 1975: The Killer Angels/ Michael Shaara
  • 1974: No Awardee
  • 1973: The Optimist’s Daughter/ Eudora Welty
  • 1972: Angle of Repose/ Wallace Stegner
  • 1971: No Awardee
  • 1970: Collected Stories/ Jean Stafford
  • 1969: House Made of Dawn/ N. Scott Momaday
  • 1968: The Confessions of Nat Turner/ William Styron
  • 1967: The Fixer/ Bernard Malamud
  • 1966: Collected Stories/ Katharine Anne Porter
  • 1965: The Keepers Of The House/ Shirley Ann Grau
  • 1964: No Awardee
  • 1963: The Reivers/ William Faulkner
  • 1962: TheEdge of Sadness/ Edwin O’Connor
  • 1961: To Kill A Mockingbird/ Harper Lee
  • 1960: Advise and Consent/ Allen Drury
  • 1959: The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters/ Robert Lewis Taylor
  • 1958: A Death In The Family/ James Agee
  • 1957: No Awardee
  • 1956: Andersonville/ MacKinlay Kantor
  • 1955: A Fable/ William Faulkner
  • 1954: No Awardee
  • 1953: The Old Man And The Sea/ Ernest Hemingway
  • 1952: The Caine Mutiny/ Herman Wouk
  • 1951: The Town/ Conrad Richter
  • 1950: The Way West/ A. B. Guthrie
  • 1949: Guard of Honor/ James Gould Cozzens
  • 1948: Tales of the South Pacific/ James A. Michener


  • Get In Trouble: Stories/ Kelly Link (2016)
  • Maud’s Line/ Margaret Verble (2016)
  • Let Me Be Frank With You/ Richard Ford (2015)
  • Lovely, Dark, Deep/ Joyce Carol Oates (2015)
  • The Moor’s Account/ Laila Lalami (2015)
  • The Son/ Philipp Meyer (2014)
  • The Woman Who Lost Her Soul/ Bob Shacochis  (2014)
  • The Snow Child/ Eowyn Ivey  (2013)
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank/ N. Englander (2013)
  • Swamplandia/ Karen Russell (2012)
  • The Pale King/ David Foster Wallace (2012)
  • Train Dreams/ Denis Johnson (2012)
  • The Privileges/ Jonathan Dee (2011)
  • The Surrendered/ Chang-rae Lee (2011)
  • In Other Rooms, Other Wonders/ Daniyal Mueenuddin (2010)
  • Love In Infant Monkeys/ Lydia Millet (2010)
  • All Souls/ Christine Schutt  (2009)
  • The Plague of Doves/ Louise Erdich (2009)
  • Shakespeare’s Kitchen/ Love Segal (2008)
  • Tree of Smoke/ Denis Johnson (2008)
  • After This/ Alice McDermott (2007)
  • The Echo Maker/ Richard Powers (2007)
  • The Bright Forever/ Lee Martin (2006)
  • The March/ E. L. Doctorow (2006)
  • An Unfinished Season/ Ward Just (2005)
  • War Trash/ Ha Jin (2005)
  • American Woman/ Susan Choi (2004)
  • Evidence of Things Unseen/ Marianne Wiggins (2004)
  • Servants of the Map: Stories/ Andrea Barrett (2003)
  • You Are Not A Stranger Here/ Adam Haslett (2003)
  • John Henry Days/ Colson Whitehead (2002)
  • The Corrections/ Jonathan Franzen (2002)
  • Blonde/ Joyce Carol Oates (2001)
  • The Quick And The Dead/ Joy Williams (2001)
  • Close Range: Wyoming Stories/ Annie Proulx (2000)
  • Waiting/ Ha Jin (2000)
  • Cloudsplitter/ Russell Banks (1999)
  • The Poisonwood Bible/ Barbara Kingsolver (1999)
  • Bear and His Daughter: Stories/ Robert Stone (1998)
  • Underworld/ Don DeLillo (1998)
  • The Manikin/ Joanna Scott (1997)
  • Unlocking The Air and Other Stories/ Ursula K. LeGuin (1997)
  • Mr. Ives’ Christmas/ Oscar Hijuelos  (1996)
  • Sabbath’s Theater/ Philip Roth (1996)
  • Collected Stories/ Grace Paley (1995)
  • What I Lived For/ Joyce Carol Oates  (1995)
  • Operation Shylock: A Confession/ Philip Roth (1994)
  • The Collected Stories/ Reynolds Price (1994)
  • At Weddings And Wakes/ Alice McDermott (1993)
  • Black Water/ Joyce Carol Oates (1993)
  • Jernigan/ David Gates (1992)
  • Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals/ Robert M. Pirsig (1992)
  • Mao II/ Don DeLillo (1992)
  • Mean Spirit/ Linda Hogan (1991)
  • The Things They Carried/ Tim O’Brien (1991)
  • Billy Bathgate/ E. L. Doctorow (1990)
  • Where I’m Calling From/ Raymond Carver (1989)
  • Persian Nights/ Diane Johnson (1988)
  • That Night/ Alice McDermott (1988)
  • Paradise/ Donald Marthelme (1987)
  • Whites/ Norman Rush (1987)
  • Continental Drift/ Russell Banks (1986)
  • The Accidental Tourist/ Anne Tyler (1986)
  • I Wish This War Were Over/ Diana O’Hehir (1985)
  • Leaving The Land/ Donald Unger (1985)
  • Cathedral/ Raymond Carver (1984)
  • The Feud/ Thomas Berger (1984)
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant/ Anne Tyler (1983)
  • Rabbis and Wives/ Chaim Grade (1983)
  • A Flag for Sunrise/ Robert Stone (1982)
  • Housekeeping/ Marilynne Robinson (1982)
  • Godric/ Frederick Buechner (1981)
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow/ Williams Maxwell (1981)
  • Birdy/ William Wharton (1980)
  • The Ghost Writer/ Philip Roth (1980)



***Between The World And Me/ Ta-nehisi Coates was a finalist for the 2016 Non-Fiction prize. I have the book on my TBR this week.

The prize for Fiction is awarded for distinguished fiction published in book form during the year by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. It carries with it a purse of Ten thousand dollars.

See other categories of the Pulitzer Prize awardees here

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Holly says:

    I can’t believe there are years when NO ONE wins at all… that does say a lot about creators in general, and perhaps also about those judging what has been created.
    Best of luck with your goal to win! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara says:

      Great goal!
      Looking forward to seeing your name on the list.

      Have you read these books? All? most? some?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Run Wright says:

        Thanks, Tara. Yeah that’s the first goal. Pulitzer Prize writer, Karen Wright.
        I have read a few, a paltry few from the list. I’ll post an updated version of the list showing the ones I’ve read in a few weeks. I actually have a few more of them on my shelves and just haven’t read them yet.


    2. Run Wright says:

      Thanks Holly.
      I don’t quite understand how you have finalists but no winner. Is there a standard that the finalists failed to meet why they couldn’t award the prize to one of them. Not sure. More research is probably required 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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