For any young person who's attempting to make art against all the odds, I hope this can be inspiration and motivation.Junot Diaz, who describes himself as :
This Dominican kid from New Jersey ...has won the 2008 Pulitzer fiction prize for literature with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which tells the story of a family of Dominican immigrants, both in the present in New Jersey and in the past in the Dominican Republic. (And which is already happily sitting on my bookshelf!)
The novel is described in the Guardian as :
... an unconventional tale ... funny, unapologetic and intensely readable ...and took him 11 years to complete - four for the idea to germinate and seven more to actually get written :
In some ways I think that this book waited for me to become a better person before it wrote itself ...he is quoted as saying in a report on the Pulitzers in the New York Times. He credits his fiancee and his agent for coaxing and cajoling him to get the book finished.
(You can find an extract here, and there's an interview with Diaz on Powell's website)
The runners-up for the fiction prize were Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson (which, you may remember, won the National Book Award last year) and Shakespeare’s Kitchen by Lore Segal a collection of 13 interrelated stories about the universal longing for friendship.
And a much deserved special citation this year goes to Bob Dylan, as much poet as musician.
More about the awards on the Pulitzer website.