One-Minute Book Reviews

April 16, 2012

10 Famous Novels That Didn’t Win a Pulitzer Prize

Filed under: Book Awards,News,Newspapers,Pulitzer Prizes — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:32 am
Tags: , , , ,

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

By Janice Harayda

Consider this if your favorite book doesn’t win one of the Pulitzer prizes that will be announced at 3 p.m. today: 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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loser: The Great Gatsby
Winner: Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

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

This is a re-post in slightly different form of an article that appeared on this site in 2007.

You can follow Jan (@janiceharayda) on Twitter by clicking on the “Follow” button at right.


  1. I’ve read more classics than Pulitzer. Don’t know if it’s a good or a bad, but I know that I willl add some books on my list 🙂

    Comment by Leslie Is Hungry — April 16, 2012 @ 1:57 am | Reply

  2. […] time that no Pulitzer in fiction has been handed out, the first since 1977. Janice Harayda has compiled a list of ten famous American novels that failed to win the Prize, including For Whom the Bell Tolls, […]

    Pingback by Sorry, No Pulitzer Prize in Fiction This Year « Commentary Magazine — April 16, 2012 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  3. […] Here are 10 famous novels that lost out the Pulitzer competition. […]

    Pingback by Great Books that Didn’t Win the Pulitzer Prize | — April 17, 2012 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  4. […] it isn’t necessarily a washout for the finalists. Literary blogger Janice Harayda notes that many famous novels have been passed over by the Pulitzer board in the past. These […]

    Pingback by Pulitzer shock: US novelists snubbed by prize jury | — April 18, 2012 @ 3:23 am | Reply

  5. So interesting… I wonder how Hemingway felt, being the only nominee and still losing. Not sure how that works.

    Comment by Moonbeam McQueen — April 18, 2012 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

    • Hemingway may not have been the only nominee, but from the list of eligible books I saw, he was by far the most deserving. And he seems to have lost because of his involvement in the Spanish Civil War. It’s a reminder of how much politics can influence awards decisions.

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — April 18, 2012 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  6. Ahhh…thanks for that clarification!

    Comment by Moonbeam McQueen — April 18, 2012 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

  7. […] I’m still not over the Pulitzer Fiction snub from earlier in the week. But I read this list of famous novels that were also snubbed and, well, I guess their doing okay for themselves. (One Minute Book Reviews) […]

    Pingback by Mel Gibson Continues To Peddle His Crazy Like It’s Going Out Of Style | SPH - Small penis humiliation — April 19, 2012 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  8. Most of these books are awful, and don’t warrant a second glimpse, let alone an award. “The Catcher in the Rye”? PLEASE. “For Whom the Bell Tolls”? One of the very worst books ever written, I can’t fathom why it should be considered a travesty that a Pulitzer wasn’t awarded to a book that serves no other purpose than to aggrandize Communist totalitarianism and attempt to legitimize their use of firing squads on innocents.

    Comment by Cody Mitchell — July 11, 2012 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

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