BooksApril 19, 2016

Books: The Winners of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize


Steve Braunias recommends the best of  the 2016 Pulitzers.

The 2016 Pulitzer Prizes – recognising the best journalism in America, and nominating some of the best books in the the world – were announced earlier today. You ought to have a read of some of these things. They are, as judges didn’t say, fucking fantastic.

Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting: Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Tampa Bay News and Michael Braga of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Okay well if you survive the harrowing first few beautifully rendered pages, then well done; the actual story is first-class. But yeah. Talk about an intro. Garish, tabloid, creative, devastating.


Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing: Kathryn Schulz of The New Yorker

Everyone says that the San Andreas is the biggest bad-ass earthquake risk in America. Why, even The Rock agreed, and starred in a pretty awesome movie based on that premise. Schulz goes elsewhere, to another range, in a typically lucid and readable yarn from The New Yorker.

Onto books. Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction: Joby Warrick for Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

There’s a brisk review at the LA Times which should be enough to persuade you this is the one book on Isis you want to read right now.

Pulitzer Prize for Biography: William Finnegan for Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

Surfing! This book sounds totally great, and makes you think: yeah how come surfing is so badly served by literature? This remedies the situation. Good review in the New York Times.


Pulitzer Prize for History: T.J. Stiles for Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America

Hm, yes, sounds good and proper – but the classic book on Custer is surely Son of the Morning Star, by Evan S Connell. That’s just a complete masterpiece, and one of the greatest ever books about early American life.

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: Viet Thanh Nguyen for The Sympathizer

 “A hot and sprawling story,” claims the Guardian, in this review.

It kind of sounds like shorthand for: “Unreadable junk.”

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

Get The Spinoff
in your inbox