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2009 Pulitzer Prizes: Arts

April 20, 2009

Here are the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winners for the arts:

  • Fiction:
    Awarded to “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout (Random House), a collection of 13 short stories set in small-town Maine that packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating.
  • Drama:
    Awarded to “Ruined,” by Lynn Nottage, a searing drama set in chaotic Congo that compels audiences to face the horror of wartime rape and brutality while still finding affirmation of life and hope amid hopelessness.
  • History:
    Awarded to “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,” by Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton & Company), a painstaking exploration of a sprawling multi-generation slave family that casts provocative new light on the relationship between Sally Hemings and her master, Thomas Jefferson.
  • Biography:
    Awarded to “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” by Jon Meacham (Random House), an unflinching portrait of a not always admirable democrat, but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life.
  • Poetry:
    Awarded to “The Shadow of Sirius,” by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press), a collection of luminous, often tender poems that focus on the profound power of memory.
  • General Nonfiction:
    Awarded to “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II,” by Douglas A. Blackmon (Doubleday), a precise and eloquent work that examines a deliberate system of racial suppression and that rescues a multitude of atrocities from virtual obscurity.
  • Prize in Music:
    Awarded to “Double Sextet” by Steve Reich (Boosey & Hawkes), premiered on March 26, 2008 in Richmond, VA, a major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear.

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