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The Pulitzer Prizes were founded in 1917 by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American who immigrated to the United States in 1864 and rose from poverty to become a newspaper magnate, publishing the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (still the daily paper of St. Louis, Missouri) and New York World. In his will Pulitzer specified, among other things, "four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one in education". The Pulitzer Prize today is given in 21 different categories, most of which still pertain to journalism, reporting, and non-fiction writing. This wiki will list the Pulitzer Prizes in three creative arts categories: drama (namely, theater), fiction, and poetry. The Pulitzer Prizes are given exclusively to Americans, and the creative works they honor are preferred to be ones dealing with American life. The prizes are administered by Columbia University.

On occasion prizes which have been awarded by the relevant committee have been rejected by the full Pulitzer board. Novels which were approved by the committee for Fiction but rejected by the Pulitzer board include For Whom the Bell Tolls (1941) and Gravity's Rainbow (1974). Art Spiegelman gave the graphic novel format a major shot of credibility when Maus won a special category prize. And while it's not listed below, it's fun to know that newspaper reporter Janet Cooke had to give back her 1981 Pulitzer for feature news writing after it was revealed that her story ("Jimmy's World", about an eight-year-old heroin addict) was a complete fabrication.

When Pulitzers are mentioned in fictional works, they are often used to get an Informed Ability across, to let the audience know that the character is a great writer or Intrepid Reporter.




  • 1922: Collected Poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson
  • 1923: The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver: A Few Figs from Thistles: Eight Sonnets in American Poetry, 1922. A Miscellany by Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • 1924: New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes by Robert Frost
  • 1925: The Man Who Died Twice by Edwin Arlington Robinson
  • 1926: What's O'Clock by Amy Lowell
  • 1927: Fiddler's Farewell by Leonora Speyer
  • 1928: Tristram by Edwin Arlington Robinson
  • 1929: John Brown's Body by Stephen Vincent Benét
  • 1930: Selected Poems by Conrad Aiken
  • 1931: Collected Poems by Robert Frost
  • 1932: The Flowering Stone by George Dillon
  • 1933: Conquistador by Archibald MacLeish
  • 1934: Collected Verse by Robert Hillyer
  • 1935: Bright Ambush by Audrey Wurdemann
  • 1936: Strange Holiness by Robert P. T. Coffin
  • 1937: A Further Range by Robert Frost
  • 1938: Cold Morning Sky by Marya Zaturenska
  • 1939: Selected Poems by John Gould Fletcher
  • 1940: Collected Poems by Mark Van Doren
  • 1941: Sunderland Capture by Leonard Bacon
  • 1942: The Dust Which Is God by William Rose Benét
  • 1943: A Witness Tree by Robert Frost
  • 1944: Western Star by Stephen Vincent Benét
  • 1945: V-Letter and Other Poems by Karl Shapiro
  • 1946: no award given
  • 1947: Lord Weary's Castle by Robert Lowell
  • 1948: The Age of Anxiety by W. H. Auden
  • 1949: Terror and Decorum by Peter Viereck
  • 1950: Annie Allen by Gwendolyn Brooks
  • 1951: Complete Poems by Carl Sandburg
  • 1952: Collected Poems by Marianne Moore
  • 1953: Collected Poems 1917–1952 by Archibald MacLeish
  • 1954: The Waking by Theodore Roethke
  • 1955: Collected Poems by Wallace Stevens
  • 1956: Poems - North & South by Elizabeth Bishop
  • 1957: Things of This World by Richard Wilbur
  • 1958: Promises: Poems 1954-1956 by Robert Penn Warren
  • 1959: Selected Poems 1928-1958 by Stanley Kunitz
  • 1960: Heart's Needle by W. D. Snodgrass
  • 1961: Times Three: Selected Verse from Three Decades by Phyllis McGinley
  • 1962: Poems by Alan Dugan
  • 1963: Pictures from Brueghel by William Carlos Williams
  • 1964: At the End of the Open Road by Louis Simpson
  • 1965: 77 Dream Songs by John Berryman
  • 1966: Selected Poems by Richard Eberhart
  • 1967: Live or Die by Anne Sexton
  • 1968: The Hard Hours by Anthony Hecht
  • 1969: Of Being Numerous by George Oppen
  • 1970: Untitled Subjects by Richard Howard
  • 1971: The Carrier of Ladders by William S. Merwin
  • 1972: Collected Poems by James Wright
  • 1973: Up Country by Maxine Kumin
  • 1974: The Dolphin by Robert Lowell
  • 1975: Turtle Island by Gary Snyder
  • 1976: Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbery
  • 1977: Divine Comedies by James Merrill
  • 1978: Collected Poems by Howard Nemerov
  • 1979: Now and Then by Robert Penn Warren
  • 1980: Selected Poems by Donald Justice
  • 1981: The Morning of the Poem by James Schuyler
  • 1982: The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath
  • 1983: Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell
  • 1984: American Primitive by Mary Oliver
  • 1985: Yin by Carolyn Kizer
  • 1986: The Flying Change by Henry S. Taylor
  • 1987: Thomas and Beulah by Rita Dove
  • 1988: Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems by William Meredith
  • 1989: New and Collected Poems by Richard Wilbur
  • 1990: The World Doesn't End by Charles Simic
  • 1991: Near Changes by Mona Van Duyn
  • 1992: Selected Poems by James Tate
  • 1993: The Wild Iris by Louise Glück
  • 1994: Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems by Yusef Komunyakaa
  • 1995: The Simple Truth by Philip Levine
  • 1996: The Dream of the Unified Field by Jorie Graham
  • 1997: Alive Together: New and Selected Poems by Lisel Mueller
  • 1998: Black Zodiac by Charles Wright
  • 1999: Blizzard of One by Mark Strand
  • 2000: Repair by C. K. Williams
  • 2001: Different Hours by Stephen Dunn
  • 2002: Practical Gods by Carl Dennis
  • 2003: Moy Sand and Gravel by Paul Muldoon
  • 2004: Walking to Martha's Vineyard by Franz Wright
  • 2005: Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser
  • 2006: Late Wife by Claudia Emerson
  • 2007: Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
  • 2008:
    • Time and Materials by Robert Hass
    • Failure by Philip Schultz
  • 2009: The Shadow of Sirius by W. S. Merwin
  • 2010: Versed by Rae Armantrout
  • 2011: The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan
  • 2012: Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith
  • 2013: Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds
  • 2014: 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri
  • 2015: Digest by Gregory Pardio
  • 2016: Ozone Journal by Peter Balakian
  • 2017: Olio by Tyehimba Jess
  • 2018: Half-light by Frank Bidart
  • 2019: Be With by Forrest Gander
  • 2020: The Tradition by Jericho Brown
  • 2021: Post-Colonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
  • 2022: frank: sonnets by Diane Seuss
  • 2023: Then the War by Carl Phillips

Other Pulizer Prize winners with TV Tropes pages

In-Universe Examples:

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  • A Steven Wright joke:
    "Imagine Pulitzer Prizefighting. Just two writers beating the shit out of each other."

    Comic Books 
  • Peter Parker (Spider-Man) won a photography Pulitzer for his book Webs.

  • The backstory to Superman Returns reveals that Lois Lane won a Pulitzer for her feature "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman".
  • Man of Steel has Lois mention that she's a Pulitzer winning reporter. Her boss retorts "Then act like it!"
  • Shock Corridor is about a reporter who gets himself committed to an insane asylum so he can report from the inside, expressly to win a Pulitzer.
  • In the film version of Elmer Gantry, the cynical reporter trailing Sister Sharon's revival campaign is described as a Pulitzer winner.
  • Die Hard 2 includes Thornburgh, the dirtbag reporter, gloating that his coverage of the story will win him a Pulitzer.
  • In Dead Again, Gray Baker is said to have received Pulitzer Prize recognition for his reporting (the wording of the statement is unclear whether he was a winner of one of the journalism prizes or just a finalist).

  • In Humboldt's Gift, Humboldt pours scorn on Charlie the narrator and Charlie's two Pulitzer Prizes, one for nonfiction and one for theater. Humboldt is envious of Charlie's success.note 
    Humboldt: The Pulitzer is for the birds—for the pullets. It's just a dummy newspaper publicity award given by crooks and illiterates.
  • The Moreau Factor is about a journalist who once won a Pulitzer but has fallen into hard times and alcohol abuse.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the first-season finale of Covert Affairs, CIA agent Henry tells Liza the reporter that he wants to get her a Pulitzer.
  • In Leverage's season three episode "The Inside Job" Nate convinces a local reporter to enter a potential hazmat situation by saying she seems like someone who would like to win a Pulitzer over a local Emmy.
  • In The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Bard", hack writer Julius Moomer dreams of becoming an "eminent, well-known, highly popular, beloved Wurlitzer prize-winner".note  A little girl corrects him.
  • The Wire: In Season 5, Tom Klebanow and James Whiting, Managing Editor and Executive Editor, respectively, of The Baltimore Sun'', are obsessed with winning a Pulitzer. To this end, they eagerly accept everything that Scott Templeton writes—which would be fine, kinda, except that Scott Templeton is Brilliant, but Lazy in the worst way possible, at first willing to make up and doctor quotes to make deadline and eventually fabricating stories out of whole cloth. Despite Gus Haynes' persistent protestations pointing out some of the most obvious signs that Templeton's a fake, Klebanow and Whiting stick by Templeton—and in the end he wins them their precious Pulitzer.
  • On Supergirl (2015) James "Jimmy" Olson won a Pulitzer for his iconic photo of a flying Superman. He tries to downplay it by explaining that he only won the award because it was one of the first photos taken of Superman and that Superman actually posed for that photo rather than it being taken spontaneously. Nevertheless, the photo is quite stunning and it is easy to see why it would be considered an iconic representation of Superman.

    Web Video 
  • One episode of The Hire has a photographer winning the Pulitzer for his photos exposing the crimes of a corrupt government.

    Western Animation 
  • Jay Sherman of The Critic was specified as a Pulitzer Prize winner. The episode "Eyes on the Prize" features Jay getting nominated and going to the Pulitzer ceremony. (See also the example listed for The Simpsons below.)
    Jimmy Breslin: Tonight, we will honor the greatest writers in America with a modest 9x12 certificate and a check for three thousand dollars. Three thousand dollars?! Stephen King makes that for writing "Boo" on a cocktail napkin!
  • On the episode of The Simpsons that featured a crossover with The Critic ("A Star Is Burns"), Jay is identified as a Pulitzer recipient. Jay says that he and Eudora Welty are the only Pulitzer recipients to also win a burping contest.
  • South Park episode "Fourth Grade" revealed that Mr. Garrison won "the gay Pulitzer Prize" for his first novel—much to Mr. Garrison's consternation, as he refuses to admit he's gay.