The new batch of Pulitzer Prize winners has just been announced, with novelist Adam Johnson winning the fiction prize with The Orphan Master's Son. The winners of the prizes for Americans' best work in journalism, drama, music, and writing also receive a $10,000 cash award.
In preparing to write The Orphan Master's Son, Johnson traveled to North Korea, as he discussed in an interview with NPR's Rachel Martin on Weekend Edition Sunday.
Here's a summary of the book's plot:
"The son of an influential father who runs an orphan work camp, Pak Jun Do rises to prominence using instinctive talents and eventually becomes a professional kidnapper and romantic rival to Kim Jong Il."
As Johnson told Rachel, his book isn't necessarily "a beach read." But, he said, "I would say that North Korea is the most fascinating, mysterious place in the world. And it utterly captivated my imagination."
Poet Sharon Olds won the Pulitzer for Stag's Leap, a collection of poems that resulted, as Tess Taylor wrote for NPR in late 2012, from Olds' impressions of the end of her marriage. It includes these lines:
"I show no anger but in flashes of humor,
all is courtesy and horror."
In her review, Taylor said that Stag's Leap "moves beyond Olds to offer an alphabet of grieving, to gather a shape of losing, as well as perhaps offering us some clues about beginning anew."
In the journalism field, The New York Times took the most honors, winning in four categories, including investigative reporting.
Below is the complete list of 2013 winners. To see the Pulitzer site's writeup of the winning entry, and the other finalists, click the category name:
Public service - Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Breaking news reporting - The Denver Post Staff
Investigative reporting - David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab of The New York Times
Explanatory reporting - The New York Times Staff
Local reporting - Brad Schrade, Jeremy Olson and Glenn Howatt of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis
National reporting - Lisa Song, Elizabeth McGowan and David Hasemyer of InsideClimate News, Brooklyn, NY
International reporting - David Barboza of The New York Times
Feature writing - John Branch of The New York Times
Commentary - Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal
Criticism - Philip Kennicott of The Washington Post
Editorial writing - Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, FL
Editorial cartooning - Steve Sack of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis
Breaking news photography - Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen of the Associated Press
Feature photography - Javier Manzano, free-lance photographer, Agence France-Presse
Letters, Drama and Music
Fiction - "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson
Drama - "Disgraced" by Ayad Akhtar
History - "Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam" by Fredrik Logevall (Random House)
Biography - "The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo" by Tom Reiss (Crown)
Poetry - "Stag's Leap" by Sharon Olds
General nonfiction - "Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America" by Gilbert King (Harper)
Music - "Partita for 8 Voices" by Caroline Shaw, released Oct. 30, 2012, (New Amsterdam Records)
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