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Last Updated:  Monday, 7 April, 2003, 22:08 GMT 23:08 UK
Genocide book wins Pulitzer

By Steve Schifferes
BBC News Online, Washington

President Lyndon B Johnson
LBJ: still fascinating after 40 years
A book attacking US policy in Rwanda and Bosnia has won a top literary prize.

The Pulitzer Prizes, among the top literary book awards in the United States, were dominated by politics and war this year.

The prize for the best general non-fiction book was awarded to Samantha Power for her book A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide.

Ms Power, who had been a journalist in Yugoslavia during its break-up, writes a highly critical account of the failure of US foreign policy to confront the crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda during the 1990s.

Pulitzer Prize Winners 2003
General Non-fiction: A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, by Samantha Power
Biography: Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, by Robert Caro
History: An Army at Dawn: the North African Campaign 1942-43, by Rick Atkinson
Fiction: Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
Poetry: Moy Sand and Gravel, by Paul Muldoon
Drama: Anna in the Tropics, by Nilo Cruz
Music: On the Transmigration of Souls, by John Adams
The prize for best biography was awarded to Robert Caro for the third volume of his magnificent biography of Lyndon B Johnson, the US president who was most closely associated with the Vietnam war.

The book, Master of the Senate, which outlines Mr Johnson's rise to power from his election to the Senate in 1948 to its leader in the l950s, also won the National Book Award.

And the prize for best history book was awarded to An Army at Dawn: the North African Campaign 1942-43, by Rick Atkinson, an account of the first major action by US troops on the way to the invasion of Europe in World War II.

Mr Atkinson, a former Washington Post newspaper reporter, wrote most of the paper's lead articles during the 1991 Gulf War.

Honour for Muldoon and Middlesex

The prize for fiction went to Middlesex, a novel about an adolescent Greek-American hermaphrodite by Jeffrey Eugenides. It has a grand and garish historical sweep, from Smyrna (Izmir) in the 1920s to Detroit in the l970s.

And the winner of the poetry prize was the distinguished Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon for his collection Moy Sand and Gravel.

A former student of Northern Ireland's Nobel laureate poet Seamus Heaney, he is currently honorary professor of poetry at Oxford and a full-time teacher at Princeton University.

The Pulitzer Prize for drama was won by Anna in the Tropics. It is a transposition of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina to the setting of the Cuban cigar makers of Tampa, Florida in the 1930s, by Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz, who is now teaching at Yale University Drama School.

The prize for music went to On the Transmigration of Souls, by John Adams, first premiered by the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Centre in New York City.

Newspaper prizes

The Pulitzer prizes for newspaper reporting, also awarded at this time, reflected the big stories that have gripped America in between terrorism and the current Iraq war.

The Boston Globe won the most important public service prize for its comprehensive coverage of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church that led to the resignation of Boston's Cardinal Law.

The Wall Street Journal won an award for its reporting of the wave of corporate scandals that have swept through American business in the past year.

And Cornelia Grumman of the Chicago Tribune won the editorial prize for her editorials against the death penalty, which may have influenced the former Illinois governor George Ryan to pardon all of the state's death-row inmates before leaving office this year.

The Los Angeles Times and Washington Post each won three awards.

The award, the oldest journalism prize in the United States, is worth $7,500, and is named after Joseph Pulitzer, the founder of one of the first mass-circulation newspapers, the New York World, in the 1890s.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
09 Oct 02  |  Review
'We have forgotten how to read poetry'
18 May 99  |  Entertainment

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