The 1919 Novel Decision

In 1919, the same jury convened to judge the merits of the novel applicants from the previous year, and after consideration, sent in their initial report on April 22, stating, “the Committee, after careful consideration, has reluctantly reached the conclusion, that no one of the novels of 1918 merits this distinction.” However, a few weeks later, just before the awards were to be announced, one of the jury members wrote to the Advisory Board, asking, “Is it too late to give the novel prize to Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons?”

At this point, there follow a number of telegraphs from the jury members, all agreeing that The Magnificent Ambersons should be awarded the prize (although one jury member’s telegraph called it by mistake “Tarkington’s “The Magnificent Anderson’”). The Novel Jury decided that it would be better to give an award for the book, than to not give a prize at all, and so the second Pulitzer Prize was awarded in the Novel Category, Booth Tarkington won the first of two Pulitzer Prizes he would eventually be awarded.

Currently Reading: Bromley Neighborhood by Alice Brown


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