Donna Tartt’s third novel, The Goldfinch, has won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The Pulitzer – one of the most prestigious prizes in American cultural life, awarded annually (for the most part) by Columbia University – is undoubtedly the most high-profile recognition Tartt’s novel has had since its October release. The $10,000 award joins the book’s placement in several publications’ 2013 year-end lists, its nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (where it was beaten by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah) and its being shortlisted for the yet-to-be-announced Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. Tartt’s previous novel, 2002’s The Little Friend, was the recipient of the WH Smith Literary Award in 2003, was also nominated for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize (then known as the Orange Prize for Fiction) and took home the Chris Ward Prize for Best Book I Read That Year That I Didn’t Have to Read for School (‘NOT A CASH PRIZE’ scrawled in black ink over the notification of victory).
Tartt took the Pulitzer over fellow nominees Philipp Meyer and Bob Shacochis, listed respectively for their novels The Son and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul. She is the first woman to win since Jennifer Egan for A Visit from the Goon Squad in 2011 (although no prize was given in 2012, with Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son the only title separating Egan and Tartt), but is the sixth of the 21st century to date, joining Egan, Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge, 2009), Geraldine Brooks (March, 2006), Marilynne Robinson (Gilead, 2005) and Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies, 2000). Six wins for women out of 14 prizes presented means that since 2000, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has now been only one title away from complete gender parity.
Other recipients of Pulitzers this year include Annie Baker (Drama, The Flick), Alan Taylor (History, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832) and Vijay Seshadri (Poetry, 3 Sections).
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