Writing About Writers

Tinkers Redux

Literary prizes--meritorious or beauty pageants?

My personal ambivalence regarding artistic awards and other swimsuit contests (e.g., the Oscars, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Nobel) is summed up by Pulitzer-winner Gail Caldwell’s observation “that the prize didn’t mean much until you win it.”

I am in no danger of winning one of those citations (though I dream of receiving one of those coveted genius grants), but I am pleased to learn of the 2010 Pulitzer for Fiction being given to Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate and Brown University mentor Paul Harding for his novel, Tinkers (Bellevue Literary Press).

Expect that journalists, being the herd animals that they are, to commence feasting on Harding like veritable flies on whatever, which reduces the chances of any real perceptions and revelations being discovered and revealed exponentially. Which is why if I or simple curiosity have been sufficiently effective in raising your interest, you will investigate early adopter Christopher Lydon’s Open Source conversation with Mr Harding.

Also, I have been fortunate to be on the Bellevue Literary Press’s mailing list, and in addition to the Harding tome I was much impressed by Austin Ratner’s The Jump Artist.

It’s all good.
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