Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

2012 Pulitzer Prize

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Date  21 May 2012
Other ceremonies  2011, 2013
2012 Pulitzer Prize
Location  Columbia University, New York City, New York, United States

2012 pulitzer prize awards

The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on April 16, 2012 by the Pulitzer Prize Board for work during the 2011 calendar year. The deadline for submitting entries was January 25, 2012. For the first time, all entries for journalism were required to be submitted electronically. In addition, the criteria for the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting has been revised to focus on real-time reporting of breaking news. For the eleventh time in Pulitzer's history (and the first since 1977), no book received the Fiction Prize.


2012 pulitzer prize winners announced

Reaction to fiction prize decision

A three-member panel nominated three books, which were then sent to the 20-member Pulitzer Prize Board. Because no book received a majority of the votes from the board members, no prize was given. This was the first time since 1977, and the eleventh time in Pulitzer history that there was no winner in the fiction category.

Maureen Corrigan, a jury member, responded to the board's decision by saying, "We nominated three novels we believe to be more than Pulitzer-worthy – David Foster Wallace's The Pale King, Karen Russell's Swamplandia! and Denis Johnson's Train Dreams. That the board declined to award the prize to any of these superb novels is inexplicable."

Jury member Michael Cunningham wrote a lengthy two-part essay in The New Yorker called "What Really Happened This Year" that described the process of selecting the shortlist titles and reaction to no prize being chosen.

Lev Grossman, book critic for Time, wrote that, "I support the Pulitzer board's decision not to give out an award for fiction this year." He argued that "great" novels are relatively rare, and that there are years in which a "masterpiece" will not be published. He also cautioned against the glut of book awards, writing, "It bothers me to see great work neglected, but it bothers me almost as much to see mediocre books over-praised."

In reaction, The New York Times invited eight literary experts to pick their winners for the prize. The experts and their picks were Sam Anderson and Macy Halford: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace; Maud Newton: Pym by Mat Johnson; Gregory Cowles: The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson; Garth Risk Hallberg: The Angel Esmeralda by Don DeLillo; Laila Lalami: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett; Alexander Chee: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, and John Williams: Open City by Teju Cole.


There were 21 prizes awarded in three categories. The prizes were announced on April 16, 2012. Each prize is accompanied by a payment of US$10,000 The winners and finalists are listed below.

Special Citation

Not awarded in 2012.


The Pulitzer Prizes Board 2011–2012:


2012 Pulitzer Prize Wikipedia

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