The Pulitzer Prize is an award for journalism, literature and musical compositions. It was established and first awarded in 1917 in the United States of America by the will of the late American newspaper publisher, Joseph Pulitzer. It is one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, and aims to promote excellence in journalism, literature and art.
This article aims to compile the best Pulitzer Prize winning books since the inception of the award. The list will be limited to the 7 best books, and this is in no means a definitive list.
This novel by American author Ernest Hemingway was written in 1953, to critical acclaim. It propelled Hemingway to greater heights and he was revered as one of the greatest American writers of his time. The story of the book is about an old Cuban fisherman looking for a great catch after a life of disappointment in the sea. He is accompanied by a young boy who believed in him as they set out on a quest. The old man’s prayer was answered, only to be beset by a plethora of problems on the sea. The novel encompasses the paradox of life where the things you want the most are not necessarily the things that are good for you.
Commonly mentioned among the greatest books ever written, To kill a Mockingbird is an American classic written by Harper Lee. It was first published in 1960 and remains Harper Lee’s most popular work. It takes you on an emotional journey through a web of human behavior from love to hatred, to kindness and wickedness. The theme is centered around race in the Southern parts of America, and despite the touchy subject, it is not lacking in humor.
Written by American writer Cormac McCarthy, The Road was published in 2006 and is widely regarded as a masterpiece. The main story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where most parts of the earth have been destroyed by a cataclysmic event. A man bids to protect his son as they journey through America which has been destroyed and is occupied by bands of lawless groups. It’s a profound story of love that shows hope can be found even in the worst conditions ever imagined.
This classic literary work written by Alice Walker was published in 1982. Walker was the first colored woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize because of this great book. It’s the story of a black American girl, set in the deep Southern parts of America in the 1930s. It is not without controversy with its use of crude language and description of rape and violence. Nevertheless, it has inspired a generation of readers and writers, earning critical acclaim along the way.
Published in 1920, The Age of Innocence was written by American writer Edith Wharton. She was also the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Wharton had already published a couple of books and was already famous when she wrote the book which is considered her masterpiece. The main story is set in the upper class New York city of the 1870s. A scandal is about to unravel as a man who is set to get married, falls in love with the bride’s cousin who just returned to New after suffering a disastrous marriage.
Beloved is a book written by American writer Toni Morrison. It’s the story of slavery in the Southern part of the United States of America. A slave woman escapes and when she was caught by slave owners, she decided to kill her child rather than have her return to slavery. The spirit of the dead child continues to haunt her years later. It is based on a true life story of a runaway slave.
One of the most popular books in American history, Gone With The Wind was written by Margaret Mitchell and published in 1936. It’s the story of a Georgia slave owner’s daughter and her struggles with marriage. The main story is set in the era of the American Civil war and Reconstruction era. It was the only book published by the author during her lifetime.