It's Pulitzer Prize-time and this year, there are multiple South Asian connections to the 2010 Pulitzers (see full list of winners and finalists here).
For a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to “Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World,” by Liaquat Ahamed (The Penguin Press), a compelling account of how four powerful bankers played crucial roles in triggering the Great Depression and ultimately transforming the United States into the world’s financial leader.
Liaquat Ahamed has been a professional investment manager for >twenty-five years.He has worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and the New York based partnership of Fischer Francis Trees and Watts, where he served as chief executive. He is currently an adviser to several hedge fund groups, including the Rock Creek Group and the Rohatyn Group; a director of Aspen Insurance Co.; and is on the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution. Ahamed has degrees in economics from Harvard and Cambridge universities.
This is the first South Asian winner or finalist in this category.
“In Other Rooms, Other Wonders,” by Daniyal Mueenuddin (W.W. Norton & Company), a collection of beautifully crafted stories that exposes the Western reader to the hopes, dreams and dramas of an array of characters in feudal Pakistan, resulting in both an aesthetic and cultural achievement.
Listen to Feb 2010 SAJAforum webcast with Mueenuddin, conducted by SAJA's Vibhuti Patel.
This is the category that Jhumpa Lahiri won in 2000, for "The Interpreter of Maladies."
“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” by Rajiv Joseph, a play about the chaotic Iraq war that uses a network of characters, including a caged tiger, to ponder violent, senseless death, blending social commentary with tragicomic mayhem
* The Washington Post won four Pulitzers this year and the co-managing editor of the paper is Raju Narisetti. Two of the prizes were for the Post Magazine (Gene Weingarten for Feature Writing) and Style (Sarah Kaufman for Criticism), both sections headed by Narisetti.
* Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Alfred A. Knopf, has had yet another successful Pulitzer year. Here's what his imprint did this time:
- Winner in Biography or Autobiography: "The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt,” by T.J Stiles (Alfred A. Knopf); finalists: “Cheever: A Life,” by Blake Bailey (Alfred A. Knopf); “Woodrow Wilson: A Biography,” by John Milton Cooper Jr. (Alfred A. Knopf).
- In 2007 (see SAJAforum coverage), Mehta did even better, with a rare hat-trick of winners: the Fiction prize for "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy; the General Nonfiction prize for "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" by Lawrence Wright; the History prize for "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation" by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff.
[Coincidentally, both Narisetti and Mehta were honored in March at the 2009 India Abroad Awards - Narisetti with the Publisher's Award for Special Excellence (along with NPR executive producer Madhulika Sikka) and Mehta with the India Abroad Award for Lifetime Achievement, complete with a video tribute by Bill Clinton, one of his many authors. Video of Narisetti acceptance speech; video of Mehta acceptance speech - you'll see Suketu Mehta in the video with Sonny; Suketu was a Pulitzer finalist in General Nonfiction in 2005 for "Maximum City: Mumbai Lost & Found".]
* One of this year's jurors was Jai Singh, managing editor of The Huffington Post - one of the few South Asians to have been a Pulitzer juror (Peter Bhatia, editor of the Oregonian, has been a juror four times; anyone else?)
Singh, along with Prof. Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzers, will be on an AAJA webcast about the Pulitzers on Wednesday, April14, 3 pm ET. Listen live or a to a recording at this link.
FROM THE SAJA ARCHIVES:
- See SAJA's collection of South Asia and the Pulitzer Prize over the last 60 years until 2008
- In 2008, Adrees Latif won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography
- See SAJAforum's coverage of the 2007 awards ceremony