The 2012 Publitzer Prize: Your Nominations

As our jurors prepare to hunker down and choose the finalists for  the first-ever "Publitzer" Prize for Fiction, it’s time to share what books you, the public, nominated.

Folks who have been following the race know that over the past week, the Kansas City Public Library has been conducting a campaign to undo the wrong wrought by the Pulitzer committee in giving no award for fiction for 2012.

We’ve been asking readers to nominate their favorite works of fiction from 2011, and our jurors would take your nominations and choose three finalists to be put to the vote beginning Monday, April 30.

We wanted you to be the faction that picks the fiction, and that’s exactly what you were. Well done.

As you dig in to what your fellow readers submitted below, check out the jury’s nominations:

Steve Paul: Open City by Teju Cole
Whitney Terrell: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Scott Wilson: Long, Last, Happy: New and Collected Stories by Barry Hannah
Kaite Stover: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward


The 2012 Publitzer Prize for Fiction Reader Nominations

Binocular Vision - Edith Pearlman

Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories - Edith Pearlman
“Ambition. Invention. Language. Courage. All on dazzling but quiet display. Why collections of stories are so neglected, I'll never know. The breadth of situations and the imagination at work here are brilliant; her use of language, unparalleled. If she were Canadian or Irish, she'd be recognized by now. Only the Book Critics Circle seems to "get it." (Ditto for Jim Shepard -- my 2nd choice -- You Think That's Bad: Stories. Also brilliant and inventive and beautifully executed. If it weren't a collection of stories, it might have been considered as well.)” - Catherine Browder Morris

Bitter End - Jennifer Brown
“Jennifer Brown approaches the subject of abuse and dating violence in a way that is so real, it is like reading your own story. It unapologetically addresses real issues that girls and women face, and sheds light onto what has always been a hushed, dark secret. Well written and compelling the whole way through, it speaks to readers of many ages, and should not only be awarded, but shared with our daughters, sisters, cousins, nieces, and friends.” - Daffny Atwell

In the Garden of Beasts - Erik Larson
“It's a documentary-type book, i.e., non-fiction, but it reads like a novel. Really a fascinating read.” - Bill Pryor

The Language of Flowers - Vanessa Diffenbaugh
“This was definitely a page-turner and a quick read. The phrasing and rhythm of the novel holds one’s interests, and the velvety threads that bind the characters past and present with the meaning of flowers touched my heart. Yeppers, it's a winner.” - Carolyn Beldin

The Marriage Plot - Jeffrey Eugenides
“Exceptional writing, as always, from Eugenides, with a plot and storyline which morph from literary history to theological philosophy to college hardships while keeping a pace and intriguing group of characters in conflict.” - Michael Eaton

“In unpretentious, graceful, and deeply human prose, Eugenides crafts an epic of first loves. Churning in the crucible between college and adult life, the characters experience what it’s like to fall in love with the big questions, with people you have no business loving, with the aching desire for independence, and, in the end, they learn to love the consequences, too.” – Jason Harper

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
“I thought this book was a fantastic trip into a dream. I loved Morgenstern's writing style and never wanted this book to end. The mystery and allure of the story wouldn't let me put this book down until I finished. Loved it!” - Courtney Lilquist

Open City - Teju Cole
“Intelligent, original, and beautifully written.” - Daniel Szabo

The Pale King - David Foster Wallace
“It hurts to read, the way proper fiction should.”
- Brendan Murphy

Reamde - Neal Stephenson
“Because I could NOT STOP reading it.” - Jenne Bergstrom

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
“Ready Player One is the quintessential American novel. It takes place in the future while glorifying all things 1980s. It's a hero's quest, an underdog's story.” - Sherry Lockwood

“This is truly a NEW story ... very different and intriguing plot that appeals to everyone from 16 to 60.” - Judy Mediatore

The Sisters Brothers - Patrick deWitt
“DeWitt writes a modern take on the classic Western that is both literary and enjoyable.” - Stephanie Chase

State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
“Patchett draws characters who are both complex and flawed. She keeps the reader guessing about their motivations up until the final chapter.” - Alison Kastner

 “This novel had everything I look for in literary fiction: beautiful language, an interesting story, and characters with depth.” - Angela Kille

Wingshooters - Nina Revoyr

Wingshooters - Nina Revoyr
“In the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird, A River Runs Through It, and Snow Falling on Cedars, Revoyr's novel examines the effects of change on a small, isolated town, the strengths and limits of community, and the sometimes conflicting loyalties of family and justice. Set in the expansive countryside of Central Wisconsin, against the backdrop of Vietnam and the post-civil rights era, Wingshooters explores both connection and loss as well as the complex but enduring bonds of family.” - Marilyn James

Nominated Without Comment:
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka – Pamela Jenkins
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – Emily Soulliere
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey EudenidesNatalie Millard
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Miriam Newman
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett – Kate Vilain
The Submission by Amy Waldman – Diane Martin, Susan Walton

Check back right here on Monday for the finalists!

About the Publitzer Coordinator

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
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