Thursday, April 03, 2008

Profiles in Chutzpah

With the robed, hooded judges gathering this week in the bowels of Columbia University, we thought we'd alert you to some exciting news: City Adrift: New Orleans Before & After Katrina has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The winners will be announced Monday.

Okay, okay, settle down everybody. The key word here is "nominated." Anyone can be nominated (well, not anyone; you do have to publish something first). It's the same system as the Nobels, which is why George Bush keeps getting nominated for the Peace Prize. Apparently, someone at LSU Press, having discovered that the entry fee is only fifty bucks, decided to nominate a 189-page collection of short pieces by seven different reporters, currently number 347,737 on the Amazon.com best-seller list, for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction (because there is no category for "Publisher's Hubris"). We're a nervous wreck, of course, largely because we already blew the ten-grand prize money at the track.

    Update:Um...judging from the emails and phone calls I’m getting (including a number of people who appear to have the phrase "ten-grand prize money" set up on a Google Alert), my subtle attempt at humor has perhaps been mistaken for false modesty. Being nominated for a Pulitzer is like being “entered” in the New York Marathon, or “applying” to Harvard Law School. Anyone can do it (specifically, any publisher with $50 and some time to kill). Winning books are usually reviewed in national publications, with words like "definitive" and “magisterial.” Last year’s winner, for example, was The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright.

    Not that City Adrift wasn’t a fine little book – but I’m starting to realize that none of you has actually read it.

5 comments:

Krellinator said...

Well, you have MY vote. Now how do I get to the voting booth again?

O$ said...

I'd attribute my tears of joy to your exciting news, but it's really becuase I just found an extra Sam Adams in the back of my fridge, saving me a trip out right now.

But when I open it, I'll be hoisting all 16 ozs. in your honor, boyo!

Burro Hall said...

Toast yourself, my man...I've just nominated you for the Special Jury Prize at the Brewing Industry International Awards.

Actually, wait - I'm gonna nominate us both.

Mex Files said...

Not for your sensitive coverage of the tragic emo situation? Oh, wait a minute, the Pulitzers are only for gringolandia. OK, how about... a Cervantes Prize nomination?

Burro Hall said...

The the emo reportage, I've been nominated for a rare Printed-Word Grammy.