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ISBN 140006208X Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout Wins Pulitzer Prize

Rank outsider Elizabeth Strout has won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with her novel, Olive Kitteridge. Strout beat a pack of literary heavyweights, Elizabeth Stroutincluding Philip Roth, John Updike, Toni Morrison, Annie Proulx, Jhumpa Lahiri, and the hot favourite Marilynne Robinson.

Set in a small town in Maine, Olive Kitteridge binds together 13 short stories.  Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, hates changes but rarely notices the changes taking place around her. As the townsfolk struggle with their problems, Olive is forced into a deeper understanding of her life. Strout was raised in small communities in New Hampshire and Maine. The Pulitzer judges said the book “packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating.”

Strout’s debut novel, Amy and Isabelle, was shortlisted for the 2000 Orange Prize but today’s Pulitzer announcement propels her into the upper ranks of the American literary establishment. She released her second novel, Abide With Me, in 2006 to mixed reviews but the reception for Olive Kitteridge has been overwhelmingly positive.

The other Pulitzer Prize Finalists for Fiction were The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich and All Souls by Christine Schutt.

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This novel joins a list of remarkable books dating back to 1918 when the award was known as the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel.

It’s a list packed with famous names and famous novels.  Beloved by Toni Morrison, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, and The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck all have a special place in literary history.

But what about So Big by Edna Ferber, Honey in the Horn by Harold L Davis and The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor? Some winners have slipped toward obscurity. Check out the full list of Pulitzer Prize winners for Fiction and rediscover some literary treasures from the past 90 years.

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction March by Geraldine Brooks

2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy
2006 March by Geraldine Brooks
2005 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
2004 The Known World by Edward P. Jones
2003 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
2002 Empire Falls by Richard Russo
2001 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
2000 Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham
1998 American Pastoral by Philip RothThe Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
1997 Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser
1996 Independence Day by Richard Ford
1995 The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
1994 The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
1993 A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
1992 A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
1991 Rabbit At Rest by John Updike
1990 The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

1989 Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
1988 Beloved by Toni Morrison
1987 A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor
1986 Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryAngle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
1985 Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie
1984 Ironweed by William Kennedy
1983 The Color Purple by Alice Walker
1982 Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike
1981 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
1980 The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer

1979 The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
1978 Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson
1977 (No award)
1976 Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow
1975 The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
1974 (No award)Edge of Sadness Edwin O'Connor
1973 The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
1972 Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
1971 (No award)
1970 Collected Stories by Jean Stafford

1969 House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
1968 The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
1967 The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
1966 Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter
1965 The Keepers Of The House by Shirley Ann Grau
1964 (No award)
1963 The Reivers by William Faulkner
1962 The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'ConnorThe Travels of Jaimie McPheeters  Robert Lewis Taylor
1961 To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
1960 Advise and Consent by Allen Drury

1959 The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor
1958 A Death In The Family by James Agee
1957 (No award)
1956 Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
1955 A Fable by William Faulkner
1954 (No award)
1953 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
1952 The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
1951 The Town by Conrad Richter
1950 The Way West by A. B. Guthrie
Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
1949 Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens
1948 Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener

The Pulitzer Prize for the Novel (Renamed Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948)

1947 All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
1946 (No award)
1945 A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
1944 Journey in the Dark by Martin Flavin
1943 Dragon’s Teeth by Upton Sinclair
1942 In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow
1941 (No award)
1940 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge
1939 The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
1938 The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand
1937 Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
1936 Honey in the Horn by Harold L Davis
1935 Now in November by Josephine Winslow Johnson
1934 Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller
1933 The Store by Thomas Sigismund Stribling
1932 The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck
1931 Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes
1930 Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge

1929 Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia PeterkinEarly Autumn by Louis Bromfield
1928 The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
1927 Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield
1926 Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
1925 So Big by Edna Ferber
1924 The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson
1923 One of Ours by Willa Cather
1922 Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington
1921 The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
1920 (No award)

1919 The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
1918 His Family by Ernest Poole


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Top 10 Forgotten Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novels

See our list of Hugo and Nebula award winners.