The Pulitzer Prize in fiction will be announced in April. Unlike Britain’s Booker Prize, the Pulitzer does not release a shortlist of titles under consideration, which leaves speculation wonderfully wide open. With the world as our oyster—or more specifically, American fiction published in 2011—we may begin the debate. Sometimes the favorite wins (Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad in 2011) and sometimes a dark horse steals the prize (Paul Harding’s Tinkers in 2010). Several titans of American literature who have yet to win a Pulitzer Prize published works this year. Don DeLillo, Ha Jin, Denis Johnson, and Ann Patchett have won just about every other fiction award, but none owns a Pulitzer. On the other side of the spectrum, Tea Obreht debuted with a critical and commercial success in The Tiger’s Wife. So too has Jesmyn Ward. Her second novel, Salvage the Bones, won the 2011 National Book Award and is Austin’s current Mayors’ Book Club selection. Will there be new blood or will one of the titans complete his trophy case?
Below are fifteen notable works of fiction that PPrize.com thinks have a shot at winning the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. Of the fifteen titles I have only read two: Ward’s Salvage the Bones and Johnson’s Train Dreams.
- Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife (2011 National Book Award finalist)
- Don DeLillo’s The Angel Esmeralda
- Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding
- Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!
- Eleanor Henderson’s Ten Thousand Saints
- Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones (2011 National Book Award winner)
- Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams
- Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic (2011 National Book Award finalist)
- Ha Jin’s Nanjing Requiem
- William Kennedy’s Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes
- Kate Christensen’s The Astral
Andrew Krivak’s The Sojourn (2011 National Book Award finalist)
- Published by the Bellevue Literary Press, a unique publisher founded and operated by the New York University Medical School whose mission is to publish books at the intersection of art and science
- Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision (2011 National Book Award finalist)
- Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder
- T.C. Boyle’s When the Killing’s Done