The 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction

Harding, Paul colorTonight I heard about the 2010 winner for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Tinkers by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press). This particular novel, Joshua and I have agreed, is going to be last on our reading list, despite how much I am interested in the story. And that’s fine, considering it’s probably going to be pretty difficult finding it at used bookstores for a while.

I found a short little article about it online and I’m genuinely impressed:

Tinkers, a debut novel by Paul Harding, a former drummer for the rock group Cold Water Flat, was the surprise winner Monday of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

A lyrical, 191-page account of a man’s dying days and his relationship with his father, Tinkers got great reviews but is published by Bellevue Literary Press, a small, 3-year-old, non-profit publisher affiliated with New York University’s School of Medicine.

Editorial director Erika Goldman says Tinkers has sold 15,000 copies since its publication in January 2009. That’s a hit for a small press but nothing by commercial standards. Bellevue plans to reprint more copies but hasn’t decided how many.

The last time a small publisher won the fiction Pulitzer was in 1981, for John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces, released by Louisiana University Press.

Harding, 42, says he’s “stunned. It was a little book from a little publisher that was hand-sold from start to finish.” The Pulitzer’s “imprimatur,” he says, adds “a sense of freedom. I can afford to continue doing what I love to do.”

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