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Pulitzer-Prize Winning Fiction from 2000

Content last modified April 2017

Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911) is best remembered for the prize that bears his name, but the impetus for the award came from his experience as a newspaper publisher and editor. As owner and editor of the New York World, Pulitzer crusaded against corruption in government and business. After becoming blind in 1890, Pulitzer resigned as editor but maintained administrative control over the newspaper.

Pulitzer established the Pulitzer Prize in his will as an incentive for journalists and other writers to strive for excellence. He specified that the prizes would be awarded for journalism, letters, drama, and education, with an advisory board empowered to make any changes conducive to the public good and to withhold an award if no competitors in a category met the Pulitzer Prize board's standard of excellence.

Established in 1917, the category for fiction was called Novel and was to be awarded to the novel " . . . which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood." The award has gone through several changes since then. In 1947 the category was renamed "Fiction" and opened up to collections of short stories. The standard today is "For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life."

This minibibliography lists the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction since 2000 and is arranged according to the year of the award, with the most recent books first. Titles are available in braille and/or audiobook formats. Recorded titles are available on cassette (RC), digital cartridge (DB), and the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) at https://nlsbard.loc.gov, which allows registered patrons to download digital talking books and audio magazines. (Some digital titles may be available only for download.) Patrons who wish to use BARD must have a blank cartridge, a USB cord, a digital player, a computer, and a high-speed Internet connection. Braille (BR) titles are available to registered patrons on NLS BARD at https://nlsbard.loc.gov.


The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead
Cora, a third-generation slave, flees the plantation where she lives. She escapes with a man who claims to know how to get to the Underground Railroad. Once there, she discovers it is an actual railroad, and every stop shows her moments of horror and joy. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2016.
Download The Underground Railroad
DB 85212


The Sympathizer
by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Saigon of 1975 is in chaos. Meanwhile, a South Vietnamese general decides who will receive the last flights out of the country, including himself, his allies, and his trusted captain. Unbeknownst to him, however, the captain observes and reports on the group to the Viet Cong. Some violence and some strong language. 2015.
Download The Sympathizer
DB 82047


All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
When Paris is invaded by the Nazis, Marie-Laure LeBlanc's father evacuates her to St. Malo to stay with her great-uncle. Blind since the age of six, Marie-Laure must learn the town by the scale model her father has left. Then, the Germans arrive. Violence and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2014.
Download All the Light We Cannot See
DB 79182


The Goldfinch
By Donna Tartt
At the age of thirteen, Theo Decker survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is raised by wealthy family friends. His one connection to his mother—a painting—draws Theo into New York City's underground art world as he grows older. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2013.
Download The Goldfinch
DB 77453


The Orphan Master's Son
by Adam Johnson
North Korea. Pak Jun Do spends his childhood on an orphan slave-labor crew—even though his father runs the orphanage. Later he is placed on kidnap duty, snatching Japanese citizens whose skills are needed. Over time, his assignments grow increasingly dangerous. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2012.
Download The Orphan Master's Son
DB 74282


No award


A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan
The members of a fictional 1980s San Francisco punk band, along with their groupies, enjoy temporary fame and settle into middle age. Sasha, a secretary and kleptomaniac, and her music-producer boss Bennie Salazar, the former bass player, self-destruct before seeking redemption. Strong language and some violence. 2010.
Download A Visit from the Goon Squad
DB 71810


by Paul Harding
As clock restorer George Washington Crosby lies dying in his Massachusetts home, he hallucinates and channels his late father Howard. A tinker and mystic, Howard worked as a traveling peddler to keep his epilepsy a secret. Bestseller. 2009.
Download Tinkers
DB 71092


Olive Kitteridge
by Elizabeth Strout
Thirteen stories set in a small community on the Maine coast are linked by the presence of Olive Kitteridge, retired teacher and pharmacist's wife. In "Tulips" Olive struggles in the aftermath of her husband's stroke and with their son's response to his father's nursing-home confinement. Some strong language. 2008.
Download Olive Kitteridge
RC 67392


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Díaz
New Jersey. Overweight Dominican American Oscar works as a substitute teacher and dreams about being a famous writer. Oscar grew up with his rebellious sister Lola and beautiful mother, but the ancient curse of fukú haunts their lives—until he decides to do something about it. Violence and strong language. Bestseller. 2007.
Download The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
RC 65402


The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
A father and his young son journey south after the destruction of the civilized world. Their survival kit consists of a few blankets, a pistol, a cart of scavenged food, and their love for each other. Their values are tested by occasional encounters with other desperate survivors. Bestseller. 2006.
Download The Road
RC 63649
BR 17072


by Geraldine Brooks
Reverend March, the husband and father from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (DB/RC 58830, BR 11778), leaves Connecticut to become an army chaplain during the Civil War. An assignment to teach freed slaves on a plantation changes March's view of humanity, while hardship hurts his family. Strong language and some violence. 2005.
Download March
RC 64617


by Marilynne Robinson
1950s. Dying seventy-six-year-old Gilead, Iowa, minister John Ames writes a parting letter to his young son. John reflects on the tensions between his pacifist father and militant abolitionist grandfather (both preachers), the death of his first wife and child, the gospel, a friend's transgressions, and life's eternal mystery. Bestseller. 2004.
Download Gilead
DB 59561
RC 59561
BR 16160


The Known World
by Edward P. Jones
Manchester County, Virginia; 1855. At his death Henry Townsend, a thirty-one-year-old former slave who maintains a relationship with his owner William Robbins, owns more than thirty slaves himself and fifty acres of land. But now his plantation begins to fall apart as slaves betray one another. Bestseller. 2003.
Download The Known World
RC 56918


by Jeffrey Eugenides
At forty-one, Cal Stephanides examines the rare genetic mutation that has caused his gender to change since his birth as a girl in 1960. He describes his teenage revelations, his Greek grandparents' guilty secret, and his coming-of-age in Detroit. Explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. Bestseller. 2002.
Download Middlesex
RC 54934


Empire Falls
by Richard Russo
Empire Falls, Maine, was once a thriving town with three mills. But the owners, the Whitings, have allowed their vast holdings to become decrepit real estate. Miles Roby, who runs the Empire Grill for Mrs. Whiting, recounts the tale of this dying town with bemused regret. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2001.
Download Empire Falls
RC 52601


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
by Michael Chabon
1939. An eighteen-year-old artist and magician flees Czechoslovakia for his cousin's New York home. With their love of legend and fantasy, the boys launch a superhero comic-book series. The golden age of comic art is at hand, but so are the horrors of global war. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2000.
Download The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
RC 50950


Interpreter of Maladies: Stories
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Nine tales of brief encounters with lasting effects, set in India and America. Each emphasizes cultural transition and loss. In the title piece, while American-born Mr. and Mrs. Das and their three young children tour India, Mrs. Das confides a disquieting secret to their guide. Bestseller. 1999.
RC 50087
Download Interpreter of Maladies: Stories

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Posted on 2017-04-10