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Barbara Kingsolver, Hernan Diaz share fiction Pulitzer Prize

By HILLEL ITALIE, Associated Press
Published: May 8, 2023, 1:50pm

NEW YORK — The Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded Monday to two class-conscious novels: “Demon Copperhead,” Barbara Kingsolver’s modern recasting of the Dickens classic “David Copperfield,” and Hernan Diaz’s “Trust,” an innovative narrative of wealth and deceit set in 1920s New York.

Beverly Gage’s “G-Man,” her widely acclaimed book on longtime FBI leader J. Edgar Hoover, was given the Pulitzer for biography. “ His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, won for general nonfiction.

Sanaz Toossi’s play “English” won for drama and Jefferson Cowie’s “Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power” was honored for history.

The Pulitzer board hailed “English” as “a quietly powerful play about four Iranian adults preparing for an English language exam in a storefront school near Tehran, where family separations and travel restrictions drive them to learn a new language that may alter their identities and also represent a new life.”

Finalists included “On Sugarland,” by Aleshea Harris, “an ambitious drama inspired by Sophocles of a community shaped by the trauma of a nameless war” and “The Far Country,” by Lloyd Suh, “an account of emigrants who traveled from China to San Francisco and suffered in the shadows of a strange new world.”

The one-act play “English” premiered off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company. Toossi is an Iranian American playwright from Orange County, California, who graduated with a master’s from New York University. Her other works include “Wish You Were Here.”

The Pulitzer for memoir or autobiography was given to Hua Hsu’s coming—of-age story “Stay True.” One of the country’s most highly regarded poets, Carl Phillips, won in poetry for “Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007-2020.”

“Omar,” by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, won the Pulitzer for music.

AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.

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