The 1924 Novel Decision

In 1924, the same three members that had convened the year before and somewhat reluctantly recommended Willa Cather for the Pulitzer Prize once again deliberated over the novel category. And this year, they were even harder on the novels than they were the year before. They begin the jury report by stating, “there is no book outstanding enough to merit a prize this year.” However, after the Pulitzer Committee ignored their recommendation in 1921, and operating under the impression they had the year before that the Prize Committee would rather a prize be awarded, the jury adds, “if it is deemed that a prize should be awarded anyhow, the committee would name ‘Margaret Wilson’s’ The Able McLaughlins.” They followed up with a statement assuring that they would not make public their opinion that no book deserved the prize should a prize be awarded, to reassure the Pulitzer Committee that there would not be the same type of scandal that occurred in 1921 when Sinclair Lewis was denied the Pulitzer, and the novel jury took their frustration to the newspapers.

Currently reading: So Big by Edna Ferber


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