Ann Patchett says times are tough enough for the literary community now that “the Department of Justice has decided to be Amazon’s bodyguard.” The last thing authors and publishers need is to be snubbed by one the country’s pre-eminent prize bodies.
Yet, that’s precisely what happened says the Bel Canto author when the Pulitzer committee elected not to choose a book for the fiction category.
Writing in the New York Times today, Patchett says the absence of a prize could simply reflect the committee’s failure to come to a consensus. Readers, however, are likely to conclude that no Pulitzer simply means it was a “bum year for fiction.”
This is the first year since 1977 that there has been no fiction prize.
In the piece, Patchett makes some recommendations of her own, including Edith Pearlman’s “Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories” and “The Pale King” by the late David Foster Wallace.
Patchett’s snipe at the Department of Justice is in line with other prominent writers like Scott Turow who has called its anti-trust investigation into publishers’ pricing scheme “grim” and “tragic.” Others say the investigation is a good thing because it will bring lower prices for readers.
For more on authors’ views of the e-book investigation and more, be sure to check out paidContent 2012 this May. One of our guests will be Pulitzer winner Richard Russo.