2020 Pulitzer Prize Finalists

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2020 Pulitzer Prize Finalists

On May 4, 2020, the 2020 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded. The Pulitzers are among the most prestigious American prizes in journalism, writing, music, poetry, and more. You can see all of the Pulitzer Prize winners here, but each year they also named Pulitzer Prize finalists--the great books, plays, and collections of poetry that ALMOST won, and that are also great reads. 

Some finalists have gone on to receive great acclaim alongside the winners. Famous former finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, drama, nonfiction, biography and history include The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, and Crime and Punishment in American History by Lawrence M. Friedman. 

Why not explore some of the finalists as well as the winners? While more finalists were announced, the following are the ones that the library currently has available via Overdrive. Place your holds now and get excited to read. 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Dutch House was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. The novel explores the relationship between two siblings as they navigate life post-World War II. Questions of inheritance, love and identity arise after the siblings are exiled from their childhood home. The novel spans decades and explores how the past can haunt us even as we think we have escaped forever. 

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
The Topeka School was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Set at the turn of the century, this novel explores the complicated family dynamics of a not-so-typical Midwestern family. With a famous feminist author for a mother and a psychiatrist father, Adam knows that a lot is expected of him. But bringing one new person--who happens to be a patient at the local clinic--into their lives can change everything. 

Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Race for Profit was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. Readers will be amazed by the depth of research here and Taylor’s exploration of this practice which skated by under the surface for so long. An exploration of “how the urban core was transformed into a new frontier of cynical extraction,” this book will invigorate readers. 

The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America by Greg Grandin
The End of the Myth was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. Spanning decades of American history, this in-depth book explores how the frontier has changed with cultural shifts, political moments, and more. Exploring expansionism, racism, nationalism and more, Grandin looks at the role of the western frontier and the southern border in the national psyche and the human lives impacted by its shifting role. 

Our Man: Richard Holbrook and the End of the American Century by George Packer
Our Man was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography. Richard Holbrook was an American diplomat involved with the Balkan Accords, and whether you know who he is or are meeting him for the first time, you’ll be enraptured by Parker’s post-Cold War biography of a polarizing, political, hard-hitting figure. Follow the assent of America to the global stage through Holbrook’s personal paper and Packer’s well-done biographical melding of personhood and historical moment. 

Solitary by Albert Woodfox with Leslie George
Solitary was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. Albert Woodfox spent over four decades in solitary confinement, one of the most brutal treatments of prisoners. This is a story of prison reform, of innocence, and of justice. Told by Woodfox himself, with the help of George, anyone interested in true crime, prison reform, and the criminal justice system will fall into this world and be struck by Woodfox’s perseverance and ability to reflect on his own experiences.