Fiction Pulitzer returns and Adam Johnson wins it
This Book cover image released by Random House shows "The Orphan Master's Son," by Adam Johnson. Johnson, was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for "The Orphan Master’s Son," on Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Random House)
NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Johnson's "The Orphan Master's Son," a labyrinthine story of a man's travails in North Korea, has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, restoring a high literary honor a year after no fiction award was given.
Pulitzer judges on Monday praised Johnson's book as "an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart." It was the third book by the 45-year-old Johnson, who teaches creative writing at Stanford University.
This undated photo provided by the Pulitzer Prize Board shows Adam Johnson, who was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for "The Orphan Master’s Son," on Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Pulitzer Prize Board)
"I wanted to give a picture of what it was like to be an ordinary person in North Korea," said Johnson, who spent a few days there to research his novel. "It's illegal there for citizens to interact with foreigners, so the only way I could really get to know these people was through my imagination."
Booksellers and publishers had been surprised and angered in 2012 when Pulitzer officials decided for the first time in decades not to give a fiction prize, which usually results in a quick and sustained boost in sales. There was no clear favorite Monday for fiction, with Louise Erdrich's "The Round House" and a pair of novels about the Iraq war, Ben Fountain's "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" and Kevin Powers' "The Yellow Birds," among those receiving strong attention.