Author Richard Powers and poet Forrest Gander named winners of 2019 Pulitzer Prizes

This cover image released by W. W. Norton & Company shows “The Overstory,” a novel by Richard Powers
This cover image released by W.W. Norton & Company shows “The Overstory,” a novel by Richard Powers, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The 2019 Pulitzer Prizes were announced in New York on Monday afternoon, with novelist Richard Powers taking the fiction award for “The Overstory,” his ecological novel warning of an upcoming environmental catastrophe.

Powers’ novel, also a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, beat out two finalists for the fiction award: Rebecca Makkai’s novel “The Great Believers” and Oakland author Tommy Orange’s debut novel, “There There,” about contemporary Native American life. Makkai’s novel, a tale of friendship that moves from Chicago to Paris, also won the L.A. Times Books prize for fiction on Friday.

Barstow native Forrest Gander was named winner in the poetry category for his collection “Be With.” Long Beach poet Jos Charles was nominated for her “feeld,” along with A.E. Stallings’ “Like.”

David W. Blight won the history prize for “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” with Victoria Johnson’s “American Eden: David Hosack,Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic” and W. Fitzhugh Brundage’s “Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition” as finalists.


UC Santa Barbara professor Jeffrey C. Stewart won the biography award for “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke.” Finalists in that category were Max Boot for “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam” and Caroline Weber’s “Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris.”

In general nonfiction, Eliza Griswold won the award for “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America,” with Elizabeth Rush’s “Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore” and Bernice Yeung’s “In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers” named finalists.

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