Jennifer Egan, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Kay Ryan win writing Pulitzer Prizes


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Jennifer Egan’s ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ has won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, it was announced Monday. ‘A Visit From the Goon Squad’ was cited by the Pulitzer committee cited for being ‘an inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed.’ The book, Egan’s fifth, is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and is a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, an oncologist, won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for his stunning first book, ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A History of Cancer.’ Mukherjee book, the committee wrote, is ‘an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science.’


Former U.S. poet laureate Kay Ryan won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her collection ‘The Best of It: New and Selected Poems.’ Ryan’s poetry collection was cited for being ‘witty, rebellious and yet tender, a treasure trove of an iconoclastic and joyful mind.’

Ron Chernow won the Pulitzer Prize in biography for ‘Washington: A Life,’ cited as ‘a sweeping, authoritative portrait of an iconic leader learning to master his private feelings in order to fulfill his public duties.’

The Pulitzer Prize for history was won by Eric Foner for his book ‘The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,’ described as ‘a well-orchestrated examination of Lincoln’s changing views of slavery, bringing unforeseeable twists and a fresh sense of improbability to a familiar story.’

The finalists in each category are listed after the jump.

The Pulitzer Prize finalists and their citations from the Pulitzer committee. Fiction finalists:

‘The Privileges,’ by Jonathan Dee (Random House), a contemporary, wide-ranging tale about an elite Manhattan family, moral bankruptcy and the long reach of wealth

‘The Surrendered,’ by Chang-rae Lee (Riverhead Books), a haunting and often heartbreaking epic whose characters explore the deep reverberations of love, devotion and war.

General nonfiction finalists:

‘The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain,’ by Nicholas Carr (W.W. Norton & Company), a thought-provoking exploration of the Internet’s physical and cultural consequences, rendering highly technical material intelligible to the general reader

‘Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History,’ by S.C. Gwynne (Scribner), a memorable examination of the longest and most brutal of all the wars between European settlers and a single Indian tribe.

Poetry finalists:

‘The Common Man,’ by Maurice Manning (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a rich, often poignant collection of poems rooted in a rural Kentucky experiencing change in its culture and landscape.

‘Break the Glass,’ by Jean Valentine (Copper Canyon Press), a collection of imaginative poems in which small details can accrue great power and a reader is never sure where any poem might lead.

Biography finalists:

‘The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century,’ by Alan Brinkley (Alfred A. Knopf), a fresh, fair-minded assessment of a complicated man who transformed the news business and showed busy Americans new ways to see the world.

‘Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon,’ by Michael O'Brien (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a graceful account of a remarkable journey by Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of a future president, who traveled with a young son across a Europe still reeling from warfare.

History finalists:

‘Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South,’ by Stephanie McCurry (Harvard University Press), an insightful work analyzing the experience of disenfranchised white women and black slaves who were left when Confederate soldiers headed for the battlefield.

‘Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston,’ by Michael Rawson (Harvard University Press), an impressive selection of case studies that reveal how Boston helped shape the remarkable growth of American cities in the 19th century.

-- Carolyn Kellogg