Greer wins fiction Pulitzer for ‘Less,’ Lamar honored for ‘DAMN’
NEW YORK | Andrew Sean Greer’s “Less,” the comic and misbegotten adventures of a middle-aged novelist, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction on Monday.
Mr. Greer’s novel didn’t receive the same attention as Jesmyn Ward’s “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” winner of the National Book Award, or George Saunders’ “Lincoln in the Bardo.” But it was widely praised as poignant and funny and was ranked among the year’s best by The Washington Post, which called it an “elegantly” told story of a man who “loses everything: his lover, his suitcase, his beard, his dignity.”
It wasn’t the only surprise winner. On Monday, Pulitzer judges upended decades of giving the music prize to classical or jazz artist and honored Kendrick Lamar for “DAMN.”
The revered rapper is also the most commercially successful musician to receive the award, which usually is reserved for critically acclaimed classical acts who don’t live on the pop charts.
The 30-year-old won the prize for his raw and powerful Grammy-winning album. The Pulitzer board said the album is a “virtuosic song collection” and said it captures “the modern African American life.”The Pulitzer board has awarded special honors to Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Hank Williams, but a popular figure like Mr. Lamar has never won the prize for music. In 1997, Wynton Marsalis became the first jazz act to win the Pulitzer Prize for music. That makes Mr. Lamar’s win that much more important: His platinum-selling major-label albums – “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “DAMN.” – became works of art, with Mr. Lamar writing songs about blackness, street life, police brutality, perseverance, survival and self-worth.Also Monday, the Pulitzer Prize for drama went to Martyna Majok for “Cost of Living.” Carolyn Fraser’s work on author Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Prairie Fires,” won for biography. Jack E. Davis’ “The Gulf” won for history, while the general nonfiction prize went to James Forman Jr.’s “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.”
The Pulitzer judges wrote that Mr. Forman’s work draws on “vast experience and deep knowledge of the legal system, and its often-devastating consequences for citizens and communities of color.”
Frank Bidart’s “Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016,” winner of a National Book Award last fall, received the Pulitzer for poetry. Mr. Bidart, who turns 80 next month, is one of the country’s most acclaimed poets. His previous works include “Desire” and Star Dust.”
In journalism, the New York Times and The New Yorker won the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for breaking the Harvey Weinstein scandal with reporting that galvanized the #MeToo movement and set off a worldwide reckoning over sexual misconduct in the workplace.
The New York Times and The Washington Post took the award in the national reporting category for their coverage of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and contacts between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California, received the breaking news reporting award for coverage of the wildfires that swept through California wine country last fall, killing 44 people and destroying thousands of homes.
The Washington Post also won the investigative reporting prize for revealing decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct against Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama. The Republican former judge denied the accusations, but they figured heavily in Doug Jones’ victory as the first Democrat elected to the Senate from the state in decades.
Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his powerful Grammy-winning album, “Damn.” The Pulitzer board said the album is “a virtuosic song collection.”