Who will win the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction?

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Who will win the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction? The front-runner “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff? The sleeper contender “The Turner House” by Angela FlournoyAn out-of-left-field pick like “The Infernal” by Mark Doten?

And what about the non-fiction and drama prizes. Can anyone beat Ta-Neshi Coates and Lin-Manuel Mirada? 

Herewith, predictions from someone who — as a journalist, theater critic and novelist — takes way too much interest in the Pulitzers.



Fiction prize: In a just world, Groff’s bravura “Fates and Furies” — a brilliant portrait of marriage, in which the second half of the novel serves as a deconstruction of the first — would be the clear winner. Groff was a finalist for both the National Book Award (which she lost to Adam Johnson’s “Fortune Smiles,” which I haven’t read) and the National Book Critics Circle Award (which she lost to Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout,” which I read and which kind of wore me out). So maybe she’ll finally claim deserved glory.

Then again, the Pulitzer committee tends to favor more evidently “important” fiction (cf. “All the Light We Cannot See” last year, and “The Goldfinch” the year before), which could bode way for Hanya Yanagihara’s torture opus “A Little Life,” the most madly overpraised novel in recent memory. Since the Pulitzers tend to favor literary lions, don’t be surprised if either Toni Morrison’s “God Bless the Child” or Anne Tyler’s “A Spool of Blue Thread” make the finalist cut.





The non-fiction (or biography) prize: Coates has scooped up countless prizes already for “Between the World and Me,” and I’m betting the Pulitzer is his to lose. But if the committee decides to move him to the biography category — since technically “Between the World and Me” is a memoir — that would leave open the door for such possibilities as Dale Russakoff’s “The Prize” or Stacy Schiff’s “The Witches: Salem, 1692” (or does that fall into the history category)?

The drama prize: The Pulitzers generally don’t feature many sure things, but Lin-Manuel Miranda’s“Hamilton” — the musical of the year, decade and century — is one of them. For the other finalist slots, look for Stephen Karam’s “The Humans,” Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians,” Annie Baker’s “John” and Taylor Mac’s “Hir” to duke it out. 


The 2016 Pulitzers get handed out on Monday, April 18 (which is also tax day this year — coincidence?) We'll see how this all shakes out then.




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