The winners of the 2010 Pulitzer Prizes in Letters, which award ten thousand dollars to each winner, were announced today. Rae Armantrout won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her collection Versed (Wesleyan University Press), which the judges called "striking for its wit and linguistic inventiveness, offering poems that are often little thought-bombs detonating in the mind long after the first reading."
Paul Harding received the prize in fiction for his debut novel Tinkers (Bellevue Literary Press). The fiction jury called his book "a powerful celebration of life in which a New England father and son, through suffering and joy, transcend their imprisoning lives and offer new ways of perceiving the world and mortality."
The finalists in poetry are Lucia Perillo for Inseminating the Elephant (Copper Canyon Press) and Angie Estes for Tryst (Oberlin College Press). Stephen Burt, Wesley McNair, and Maureen McLane judged. In fiction, runner-up honors went to Lydia Millet for Love in Infant Monkeys (Soft Skull Press) and Daniyal Mueenuddin for In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Norton). Charles Johnson, Laura Miller, and Rebecca Pepper Sinkler judged.
In other awards news, the Los Angeles community-building organization Liberty Hill announced today that it would award its 2010 Upton Sinclair Award to novelist Walter Mosley. The author will receive the award, given to recognize work that contributes to social change, at a gala dinner in Los Angeles on May 20.
Mosley is the author of novels including Fearless Jones (Little, Brown, 2001), Fortunate Son (Back Bay Books, 2007), and Diablerie (Bloomsbury USA, 2007), and the story collection Six Easy Pieces (Washington Square Press, 2003), part of his series of books centered on a character named Easy Rawlins. A new novel, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books in November.
Kafi Blumenfield, CEO of Liberty Hill, says that Mosley "has powerfully tackled such monumental events in Los Angeles like the Watts riots in his work and eloquently created an authentic picture of the social injustice being faced by African-Americans in our complicated city."
In the video below, Mosley talks about the responsibility of a writer with Chris Abani.