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.

imageedit_687_2338297329

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.

imageedit_689_7505210243

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 Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.


The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.