This has happened for the first time since 1977 that no fiction writer has been awarded with this price. Book lovers and publishers have reacted bitterly to this decision since it could have a considerably harmful effect on the fiction writers as well as publishers.
According to the critics, this decision of the Pulitzer price board would have a harmful effect on an industry that is already accused of fixing prices for e-books. The Pulitzer price acts as a free publicity for the winner as well as the publisher.
Various fiction writer were actually considered for the prize, however none of them could actually win it.
The writers who were considered by the jury include Denis Johnson for his novella “Train Dreams”, Karen Russell for “Swamplandia!” and the late David Foster Wallace for “The Pale King.” This last novel was published last year from notes he left when he died in 2008.
According to Paul Bogaards, director of publicity at Alfred A. Knopf that published “Swamplandia!,” this is a missed opportunity for the fiction writers since winning a Pulitzer prize clearly is an important factor behind increased sales and success.
The criterion for selection is that hundreds of fiction books are reviewed by a panel of three people who then send the recommendations to the Pulitzer board.
Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler said that such a happening was quite unusual but none of the three entries received a majority of board votes. However the deliberations of the board are confidential and are not revealed. Commentators and booksellers consider this bad for fiction books since not winning a prize would give a wrong impression that this year has not been good for fiction.
Over the years, Pulitzer price has been offering more publicity than any other American award for fiction which is mainly because of the blanket media coverage of the awards. Books are chosen from the categories of journalism, books, drama and poetry and the winners individually receive $10,000.