The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is kind of a big deal. It’s awarded annually—except when the committee can’t pick a winner (or decides no book is deserving), which happened in 2012—and only the crème de la crème are nominated, much less win. There are three finalists. And this is one of those things where being nominated really is an honor. With authors like Edith Wharton, John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway in its ranks, it’d be hard not to find yourself in good company! Here are 10 coming of age stories that just so happened to score (or be nominated for) this practically impossible prize.
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (won in 1939)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (won in 1961)
Birdy by William Wharton (nominated in 1980)
That Night by Alice McDermott (nominated in 1988)
An Unfinished Season by Ward Just (nominated in 2005)
The Bright Forever by Lee Martin (nominated in 2006)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (won in 2008)
All Souls by Christine Schutt (nominated in 2009)
Swamplandia! By Karen Russell (nominated in 2012)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (won in 2014)
Show of hands: Who wants to do a Pulitzer challenge?