What Really Happened? We Still Don’t Know

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At The New Yorker, novelist and Pulitzer Prize jury member Michael Cunningham has written a two-part essay about why there was no Prize awarded for fiction this year for the first time since 1977.

The essay, while coming from a source one step removed from the final decision – that of the committee – still provides an interesting look into the painstaking process of whittling down three hundred books into three. Cunningham does not provide all the answers that readers of contemporary literature are looking for, but the essay does include, at the very least, a few well articulated insights about why fiction prizes are important, what it means to call something great, and why reading contemporary literature is so exciting and rewarding.


Walter Gordon is an intern at The Rumpus. He is a native of Berkeley, CA and goes to college in Oberlin, OH. He spends most of his time reading. His eyes hurt. Other hobbies include photography, writing fiction, and sitting on top of tall piles of rocks. More from this author →