I’m not sure where Turtle Island is but they have some great music.
I’m not sure where Turtle Island is but they have some great music.
You will not want to miss this one!
At Goodreads, we have long been interested in the subject of professional opinion versus user-generated opinion, so this year we thought it was high time to revisit the anatomy of a prizewinning book.
We learned that male authors win more often than female authors, and novels centered on a woman’s journey don’t win major literary prizes as often as stories about men or featuring multiple protagonists. Men tend to win more and write about men’s stories more. In fact, an in-depth analysis of book data on Goodreads found that only 18 percent of 95 prizewinning books from 2000 to 2017 featured a woman as the standalone main character.
Together with the analytics team, engineers, and designers, we looked at a random sample size of 40,000 active members on the site (20,000 men and 20,000 women) and examined 95 prizewinning books from 2000 to 2017. These books won the following prizes: PEN/Faulkner Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, The Man Booker Prizes, and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Awards.
The results support a very interesting 2015 study by author and researcher Nicola Griffith. It’s also been two years since Griffith’s post, so we looked to see if there were any new trends in the data.
In 2016 and 2017 the ten works included in our research mainly followed the same pattern as the one Griffith saw, with more male authors winning, and more books with a lead male protagonist winning. Even this week, the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fictionwas awarded to Andrew Sean Greer for Less: A Novel, which according to our site is an enjoyable read, but still a book by a man about a man. Interestingly, there was one book in the past two years that bucked the trend entirely, The Underground Railroad, which featured a female protagonist and was written by a male author (Colson Whitehead).
So, please enjoy this infographic! We’ll let you debate all the glorious questions that come forth. Why do stories about men get more conventional endorsement? Interesting counterpoint: The Pacific Standard points out that among best-selling authors, men and women are represented equally. What surprises you? What doesn’t?
P.S. For more fun reading data, check out our earlier infographic Sex and Reading!
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola
BEST FACT CRIME
Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson
BEST SHORT STORY
“Spring Break” – New Haven Noir by John Crowley
Vanished! By James Ponti
BEST YOUNG ADULT
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Somebody to Love” – Fargo, Teleplay by Noah Hawley
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD (Best First Short Story)
“The Queen of Secrets” – New Haven Noir by Lisa D. Gray
GRAND MASTER (Lifetime Achievement)
RAVEN AWARD (Outstanding achievement in Mystery outside the realm of creative writing)
Kristopher Zgorski, BOLO Books
The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence Kansas
ELLERY QUEEN AWARD (Writing Teams & People in Mystery Publishing)
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD (Book Written in the Mary Higgins Clark Tradition)
The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman
On Monday, April 16, the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced before a hushed crowd in the recently renovated Joseph Pulitzer World Room at Columbia University’s Pulitzer Hall. The announcement was made by Dana Canedy, administrator of the awards and herself someone to be celebrated. Formerly a senior editor at the New York Times, where she was part of a team that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in national reporting, Canedy was appointed in July 2017 as the first woman and first person of color to serve as awards administrator.
Altogether 14 journalism and seven letters, drama, and music awards were presented, the former covering topics ranging from sexual harassment to domestic terrorist Dylann Roof and the latter, said Canedy, signifying “the impact of arts and letters on American culture.”
The book prizes proved satisfying if not completely surprising.
With his fiction win for Less (Lee Boudreaux: Little, Brown), the story of a midlist novelist avoiding a former lover’s marriage by traveling to literary events worldwide, Andrew Sean Greer finally lays claim to a major title, though he’s been an NYPL Young Lion and received best book honors for Less from the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. Prize rules specify that the fiction honor go to a book “preferably dealing with American life,” but Greer deals more broadly with issues of aging and self-worth. Ironically, his protagonist, Arthur Less, is best known for his early liaison with a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, suffering comparisons that make him feel less worthy—a problem Greer won’t have.
The biography award went to Caroline Fraser’s Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a National Book Critics Award winner and New York Times Best Book; the poetry award, to Frank Bidart’s Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 (Farrar), a National Book Award winner; and the general nonfiction award, to James Forman Jr.’s Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar), a New York Times Best Book and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.
Forman’s work, which examines how response by African Americans to trauma within their own communities inadvertently led to the contentious issue of mass incarceration, was also short-listed for the Inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice. Jack E. Davis’s The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea (Liveright: Norton), ranging from the Pleistocene era to the Deepwater Horizon disaster and beyond, also won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction.
Music and drama were the big surprises, with gasps meeting the announcement of the music award. The winner is rapper Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., the first time a classical or jazz composer hasn’t won. Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living, a play about physical disability that opened Off Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Club in June 2017, won the drama award. Majok, a Polish immigrant who saw her first play after winning some money playing pool, won against some formidable competition, with Obie Award winner and previous Pulitzer finalist Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Everybody and previous Pulitzer winner Tracy Letts’s The Minutes this year’s drama finalists.
Canedy proved to be a congenial host, especially during the Q&A session, when she responded to urgent questions from a group of female high school students from the News Literacy Project by assuring them that news reporting and news reporters will be more diverse in the future. In general, she emphasized that whatever changes come in reporting and in the awards process (e.g., rules were changed this year so that coverage needn’t be from a local publication), the main point is that “the work speaks for itself.” For more on the winners, see 2018 Pulitzer Prizes.
LONDON — The Man Booker Prize is Britain’s most prestigious literary award. But for the past two years, American writers have dominated the competition — and authors from Britain and the Commonwealth countries are none too pleased.
The crescendo of frustration may have reached a peak. A group that counts the literary heavyweights Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan and Zadie Smith among its members has fired a shot across the bow, demanding that the Man Booker Foundation reverse a 2014 decision making any novel written in English and published in Britain eligible for the prize.
Leading authors and critics from the group, the Rathbones Folio Academy, bashed the Booker’s policy anew this week, arguing that changing the rules had taken away the distinctiveness of the prize, which was previously limited to writers from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth.
They also criticized the way in which the Man Booker, begun in 1969, had highlighted less well known and prominent literature.
“The Man Booker used to provide a point of focus each year for British and Commonwealth fiction, a sense that this had some identity-in-difference, and that British and Commonwealth novels were in some sense ‘talking to one another’ — as distinct from any conversation going on in U.S. fiction,” Tessa Hadley, a British author and member of the Folio Academy, said by email. “Now, it’s as though we’re perceived, and perceive ourselves, as only a subset of U.S. fiction, lost in its margins and eventually, this dilution of the community of writers plays out in the writing,” she added.