One-Minute Book Reviews

April 16, 2007

Famous Pulitzer Losers – 10 Great Novels That Didn’t Win the Fiction Prize and Which Books Beat Them

The Great Gatsby didn’t win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and neither did these modern classics

By Janice Harayda

Sorry your favorite novel lost the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road? Consider this: The judges for the 1930 prize looked at Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and gave the fiction award to … Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge. And those classics are hardly alone in having been snubbed. Some noteworthy losers and the novels that won the Pulitzer instead in the years listed:

1962
Loser: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Winner: The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor

1957
Loser: Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
Winner: The Fixer by Bernard Malamud

1952
Loser: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Winner: The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk

1941
Loser: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Winner: Nobody. No award given.

1937
Loser: Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
Winner: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

1930
Losers: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Winner: Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge

1928
Loser: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Winner: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

1926
Loser: The Great Gatsby
Winner: Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

1921

Loser: Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
Winner: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

4 Comments »

  1. [...] just thought it would be interesting to share a list that Janice Harayda posted over at One Minute Book Reviews about the major names that have been snubbed in literary history in favor of lesser known novels [...]

    Pingback by The Unemployed Writer » Blog Archive — April 17, 2007 @ 12:27 am | Reply

  2. [...] like her philosophy of book reviewing. In her post, Famous Pulitzer Losers – 10 Great Novels That Didn’t Win the Fiction Prize and Which Books Beat…, Janice compares books that didn’t make the cut, to those who [...]

    Pingback by Pulitzer Week - What Would Joseph Think? « — April 19, 2007 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

  3. […] I suppose, even at this late date, that we should define what a “Big Book” is. David Comfort does this brilliantly in his excellent Insider’s Guide to Publishing which I reviewed recently. Comfort describes such a book as one that, while usually heavily promoted by a publisher (as all the above mentioned works were), actually captures somehow the public’s interest and thus becomes a widely read and discussed work. There are usually movies made of such books – and the books make their writers famous, at least for a time.  Such books often win awards – though sometimes, interestingly, they don’t. […]

    Pingback by The “Big Book” and its Discontents… | The New Southern Gentleman — January 21, 2014 @ 7:39 pm | Reply


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