Salt Lake Tribune’s Pulitzer Party: Celebrating Works of Fiction

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Retired BYU professor Richard Isakson has collected early editions of all 88 Pulitzer Prize-winning novels and displays them in his home in Provo.

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Retired BYU professor Richard Isakson has collected early editions of all 88 Pulitzer Prize-winning novels and displays them in his home in Provo.

To commemorate Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction as the prestigious awards turn 100 this year, The Salt Lake Tribune held a “Pulitzer Party” on Thursday, April 28th at Weller Book Works in Trolley Square.

The Tribune’s Jennifer Napier-Pearce spoke with notable readers about why they love their favorite Pulitzer novels. Catherine Weller, co-owner of Weller Book Works, introduced us to this year’s fiction winner, “The Sympathizer: A Novel,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen. We’ll also award one of our guests an ultimate “reading kit.”

This event is part of The Tribune’s year-long celebration of the centennial, supported by a Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative grant to Utah Humanities, The Tribune, Utah Public Radio and KCPW. Speakers at the event were:

• Mette Ivie Harrison, author of young-adult books “The Princess and the Hound” and “Mira, Mirror” and a mystery for adults, “The Bishop’s Wife.” She’ll speak about “All the Light We Cannot See,” the 2015 winner by Boise author Anthony Doerr.

• Stephen Trimble, who has published 22 books about the American West as a writer, editor and photographer, teaches writing at the University of Utah’s Honors College. He discussed “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry.

• Richard Isakson, a retired Brigham Young University professor, had read all the Pulitzer-winning novels before this year’s winner was announced in April. He explained why “His Family,” the 1918 winner by Ernest Poole, is one of his favorites. Read his story here.

• Erika George, a University of Utah law professor who is co-director of the school’s Center for Global Justice, highlighted “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” by Junot Diaz.

• Becky Jo Gesteland, an English professor at Weber State University with an interest in women’s autobiographical writing and American Studies, talked about “March” by Geraldine Brooks.

• Tribune arts writer Ellen Fagg Weist featured “Angle of Repose” by Wallace Stegner, who graduated from the U. and became an acclaimed Western writer and conservationist. Read her recent take on Pulitzer readers here.

The Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative is a joint venture of the Pulitzer Prizes Board and the Federation of State Humanities Council in celebration of the 2016 centennial of the Prizes.

The initiative seeks to illuminate the impact of journalism and the humanities on American life today, to imagine their future and to inspire new generations to consider the values represented by the body of Pulitzer Prize-winning work.

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