2009 Pulitzer Prize

The 2009 Pulitzer Prizes were announced on April 20, 2009, the 93rd annual awards.[1]

The New York Times won five awards this year, with the Tampa Bay Times (Formally the St. Petersburg Times) being the only other multi-prize winner with two. Three organizations were awarded prizes for the first time: Las Vegas Sun, East Valley Tribune and The Post-Star.[2]


Public service Las Vegas Sun and notably Alexandra Berzon " ... for the exposure of the high death rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip amid lax enforcement of regulations, leading to changes in policy and improved safety conditions." Original series
Breaking news reporting The New York Times " ... for its swift and sweeping coverage of a sex scandal that resulted in the resignation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, breaking the story on its Web site and then developing it with authoritative, rapid-fire reports."
Investigative reporting David Barstow of The New York Times " ... for his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended." Original series, pt. 1, Original series, pt. 2
Explanatory reporting Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart of the Los Angeles Times " ... for their fresh and painstaking exploration into the cost and effectiveness of attempts to combat the growing menace of wildfires across the western United States." Original series
Local reporting Detroit Free Press, and notably Jim Schaefer and M.L. Elrick " ... for their uncovering of a pattern of lies by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick that included denial of a sexual relationship with his female chief of staff, prompting an investigation of perjury that eventually led to jail terms for the two officials."
Local reporting Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune " ... for their adroit use of limited resources to reveal, in print and online, how a popular sheriff’s focus on immigration enforcement endangered investigation of violent crime and other aspects of public safety." Original series
National reporting St. Petersburg Times " ... for “PolitiFact,” its fact-checking initiative during the 2008 presidential campaign that used probing reporters and the power of the World Wide Web to examine more than 750 political claims, separating rhetoric from truth to enlighten voters."
International reporting The New York Times " ... for its masterful, groundbreaking coverage of America’s deepening military and political challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reporting frequently done under perilous conditions." Original series
Feature writing Lane DeGregory of the St. Petersburg Times " ... for her moving, richly detailed story of a neglected little girl, found in a roach-infested room, unable to talk or feed herself, who was adopted by a new family committed to her nurturing." Original series
Commentary Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post " ... for his eloquent columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focus on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and grasp of the larger historic picture."
Criticism Holland Cotter of The New York Times " ... for his wide-ranging reviews of art, from Manhattan to China, marked by acute observation, luminous writing and dramatic storytelling."
Editorial writing Mark Mahoney of The Post-Star " ... for his relentless, down-to-earth editorials on the perils of local government secrecy, effectively admonishing citizens to uphold their right to know."
Editorial cartooning Steve Breen of The San Diego Union-Tribune " ... for his agile use of a classic style to produce wide-ranging cartoons that engage readers with power, clarity and humor. " Cartoonist's page
Breaking news photography Patrick Farrell of The Miami Herald " ... for his provocative, impeccably composed images of despair after Hurricane Ike and other lethal storms caused a humanitarian disaster in Haiti." Photographer's page
Feature photography Damon Winter of The New York Times " ... for his memorable array of pictures deftly capturing multiple facets of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign." Photographer's page

Letters, Drama and Music Awards

Fiction Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)
Drama Ruined by Lynn Nottage (TCG)
History The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton & Company)
Biography American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham (Random House)
Poetry The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press)
General Nonfiction Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon (Doubleday)
Music Double Sextet by Steve Reich (Boosey & Hawkes)

Special Citation

Not awarded in 2009.


  1. ^ "Columbia University Announces 93rd Annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music" (PDF) (Press release). Columbia University. 2009-04-20. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
  2. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (2009-04-20). "The Times Wins 5 Pulitzer Prizes". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2009-04-20.

External links

Alexandra Berzon

Alexandra Berzon is an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering Las Vegas, Nevada. She is best known for a 2008 series of investigative stories about the deaths of construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip for which the Las Vegas Sun won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and The Hillman Prize.

The Public Service Pulitzer cited "the courageous reporting by Alexandra Berzon, for the exposure of the high death rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip amid lax enforcement of regulations, leading to changes in policy and improved safety conditions." The centerpiece was a four-part series entitled "Construction Deaths". Berzon began her investigation after nine construction workers died in eight separate accidents. Her series exposed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's lax enforcement of regulations and highlighted the cozy relationship between safety regulators and builders.The series was cited in Congressional hearings examining OSHA's record and led to changes in policy and improved safety conditions.

Becky Shaw

Becky Shaw is a play written by Gina Gionfriddo. The play premiered at the Humana Festival in 2008 and opened Off-Broadway in 2008. The play was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Copper Canyon Press

Copper Canyon Press is an independent, non-profit small press, specializing in the publication of poetry and located in Port Townsend, Washington. Since 1972, the Press has published poetry exclusively.

Copper Canyon Press publishes new collections of poetry by both revered and emerging American poets, translations of classical and contemporary work from many of the world's cultures, re-issues of out-of-print poetry classics, prose books about poetry, and anthologies.

The press achieved national stature when Copper Canyon poet, W.S. Merwin, won the 2005 National Book Award for Poetry in the same year another Copper Canyon poet, Ted Kooser, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and was appointed to a second year as United States Poet Laureate. Merwin later won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and in 2010 was named United States Poet Laureate.

Copper Canyon has published more than 400 titles, including works by Nobel Prize Laureates Pablo Neruda, Odysseas Elytis, Octavio Paz, Vicente Aleixandre and Rabindranath Tagore; Pulitzer Prize-winners Ted Kooser, Carolyn Kizer, Maxine Kumin, Theodore Roethke, and W.S. Merwin; National Book Award winners Hayden Carruth, Lucille Clifton, and Ruth Stone; and some contemporary poets and translators such as Jim Harrison, C. D. Wright, Bill Porter (aka Red Pine), Norman Dubie, Eleanor Wilner, Arthur Sze, James Richardson, Tom Hennen and Lucia Perillo.

The press published What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford to great critical acclaim in 2015. In his New York Times review, Dwight Garner complimented the press for performing a "vital and difficult task" and giving the reader "a chance to see him (Stanford) whole." National Public Radio called the book's release "the big event in poetry for 2015."Also in 2015, Copper Canyon Press acquired the U.S. rights to a manuscript of lost poems by Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda. Discovered by archivists from The Pablo Neruda Foundation in the summer of 2014 just after the April 2013 exhumation of Neruda's body in Chile, this collection of poems has been called "a literary event of universal importance" and "the biggest find in Spanish literature in recent years". The collection, Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems, translated by Pulitzer finalist Forrest Gander, was released in April 2016 and includes full-color, facsimile presentations of Neruda's handwritten poems. Copper Canyon was also awarded the rights to publish Neruda's first book, Crepusulario, which has also never appeared in the U.S. in English translation.

Not only does Copper Canyon Press publish works of established poets, it also strives to publish the first books by extraordinary new poets. In 2016, Copper Canyon published two debut collections: Camille Rankine's Incorrect Merciful Impulses and Ocean Vuong's Night Sky With Exit Wounds; both of these titles received critical acclaim.

David S. Rohde

David Stephenson Rohde (born August 7, 1967) is an American author and investigative journalist who currently serves as the online news director for The New Yorker. While a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1996 for his coverage of the Srebrenica massacre. From 2002 until 2005, he was co-chief of The New York Times' South Asia bureau, based in New Delhi, India. He later contributed to the newspaper's team coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan that received the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and was a finalist in his own right in the category in 2010. He is also a global affairs analyst for CNN.While in Afghanistan, Rohde was kidnapped by members of the Taliban in November 2008, but managed to escape in June 2009 after seven months in captivity. While he was in captivity, The New York Times collaborated with a number of media outlets, including al-Jazeera and Wikipedia, to remove news of the kidnapping from the public eye.

Double Sextet

Double Sextet is a composition by Steve Reich scored for two sextets of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone and piano. It won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music, the first for the composer. With funds from the Carnegie Hall Corporation, The Abe Fortas Memorial Fund of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Liverpool Culture Company – European Capital of Culture 2008, The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond, Orange County Performing Arts Center, The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music – Music 08 Festival the piece was commissioned in 2007 by Eighth Blackbird who performed its premiere in 2008, at the University of Richmond in Virginia.. The Liverpool Culture Company (Gordon Ross, music programme manager) was the only non-US commissioning organisation and hosted the rest-of-the-world premiere at St. George's Concert Room, Liverpool on the 21st of November 2008 as part of Liverpool's European Capital of Culture celebrations.

Double Sextet/2×5

The album consists of two works composed by Steve Reich, Double Sextet and 2×5. Double Sextet, which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music, is written for two identical sextets of flute, clarinet, vibraphone, piano, violin and cello. It has been recently quoted as being "among the finest pieces of our time" by The Philadelphia Inquirer. The piece lasts roughly 22 minutes.

2×5 is for two identical quintets consisting of 2 electric guitars, bass guitar, piano and drum set. It is described as a "rock and roll piece", lasting around 20 minutes.

Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout (born January 6, 1956) is an American novelist and author. She is widely known for her works in literary fiction and her descriptive characterization. Born and raised in Portland, Maine, her experiences in her youth served as inspiration for her novels–the fictional "Shirley Falls, Maine" is the setting of four of her six novels.Strout's first novel, Amy and Isabelle (1998) met with widespread critical acclaim, became a national bestseller, and was adapted into a movie starring Elisabeth Shue. Her second novel, Abide with Me (2006), received critical acclaim but ultimately failed to be recognized to the extent of her debut novel. Two years later, Strout wrote and published Olive Kitteridge (2008), to critical and commercial success grossing nearly $25 million with over one million copies sold as of May 2017. The novel won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The book was adapted into a multi Emmy Award-winning mini series and became a New York Times bestseller. Five years later, she published The Burgess Boys (2013), which became a national bestseller. My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016) was met with international acclaim and topped the New York Times bestseller list. Lucy Barton later became the main character in Strout's 2017 novel, Anything is Possible.

Goodman, Mississippi

Goodman is a town in southeastern Holmes County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,386 at the 2010 census, up from 1,252 at the 2000 census.

Jim Schaefer

Jim Schaefer is an American journalist based in Detroit, Michigan, where he works as an investigative journalist for the Detroit Free Press.

Jon Meacham

Jon Ellis Meacham (; born May 20, 1969) is a presidential biographer. A former Executive Editor and Executive Vice President at Random House, he is a contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review, a contributing editor to Time magazine, and a former Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek. He is the author of several books. He won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. He is currently the Rogers Chair for the Study of the Presidency and a distinguished visiting professor in the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.

Kevin Flynn (journalist)

Kevin Flynn, is an American journalist who is an editor with The New York Times, and the co-author of 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers. His work as an investigative editor helped earn The New York Times numerous awards, including a 2009 Pulitzer Prize. He served as the newspaper’s police bureau chief from 1998 to 2002 when he became investigations editor for the newspaper's Metro desk. He is currently investigations editor for the paper's Culture desk.

M.L. Elrick

Michael L. Elrick (born 1968) is an American journalist based in Detroit, Michigan, where he has worked for the Detroit Free Press and for WJBK-TV.Elrick attended the Grosse Pointe school system; attending Defer Elementary, Pierce Middle, and graduated from GP South High in 1985. Elrick graduated from Michigan State University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Journalism degree.

He wrote for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, and Daily Southtown in Chicago.

His work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, Investigative Reporters and Editors Journal, Salon.com, Rollingstone.com, the National Law Journal, Chicago Magazine and Hour Detroit magazine.

He teaches journalism at Wayne State University, Michigan State, and University of Michigan-Dearborn.With the Detroit Free Press Elrick was one member of a team that covered Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and uncovered the scandals that led to his 2008 resignation from office and criminal conviction.

To break the case open, the reporters filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that was heard by the Michigan Supreme Court. The Detroit Free Press staff, which notably included contributors Elrick and Jim Schaefer, shared the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, which cited the staff's "uncovering of a pattern of lies by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick that included denial of a sexual relationship with his female chief of staff, prompting an investigation of perjury that eventually led to jail terms for the two officials."He is married and has two children.

Nina Bernstein

Nina Bernstein (born 1949) is a journalist, best known for her New York Times reporting on social and legal issues, including award-winning coverage of immigration, child welfare and health care. In 21 years at the Times, from which she retired at the end of 2016, she was a metro reporter, a national correspondent and an investigative reporter.

Bernstein graduated from Harvard in 1970 with a B.A. in European history and literature. She worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Iowa, then was a reporter for New York Newsday for 9 years, including time as a foreign correspondent in Berlin and Bosnia. She joined the Times in 1995. That year, with three colleagues, she won the George Polk Award for distinguished metropolitan coverage. Immediately after the September 11 attacks she did in-street interviews at locations around Manhattan.

Her reporting on deaths in immigration detention received numerous awards, including the 2010 Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award for courage in journalism awarded by the Columbia School of Journalism, and a 2009 Sidney J. Hillman Award. She was part of a Metro team that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for coverage of the scandal that led to the resignation of the governor of New York. Bernstein was a Nieman fellow at Harvard in 1983-1984, and in 2002-2003 was a journalism fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. She is the author of The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care (Pantheon, 2001), which won the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism given by the New York Public Library, and a 2002 PEN America First Nonfiction award . It was also a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Award . She has contributed lead chapters to two academic books, "Writing Immigration: Scholars and Journalists in Dialogue (University of California Press, 2011), and "Challenging Immigration Detention: Academics, Activists and Policy-Makers (Edward Elgar Publishing 2017). She is also the author of a children's book of fiction, Magic by the Book (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2005).

Bernstein is married to Columbia University professor Andreas Huyssen. They have two children.

Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge (2008) is a novel by American author Elizabeth Strout. It presents a portrait of the title character and a number of recurring characters in the coastal town of Crosby, Maine. It takes the form of 13 short stories that are interrelated but discontinuous in terms of narrative. It won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. HBO produced a four-part mini-series, based on the novel, featuring Frances McDormand in the title role, which aired on November 2 and 3, 2014. The series won eight awards at the 2015 Primetime Emmys.

Patrick Farrell (photojournalist)

Patrick Farrell (born July 1, 1959) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American photojournalist for the Miami Herald.His images from a brutal hurricane season in Haiti won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. The Pulitzer Prize jurors described his package of 19 black-and-white photographs as "provocative, impeccably composed images of despair after Hurricane Ike and other lethal storms caused a humanitarian disaster in Haiti." Titled A People in Despair: Haiti's Year Without Mercy, the photos ranged from the flooded streets of Gonaives and the aftermath of a storm-related school collapse in Port-au-Prince to the deadly toll on the rural town of Cabaret, where young children drowned in rushing floodwaters. More than 800 Haitians died and more than 1 million were left homeless by the series of storms.Farrell's photographs from Haiti also have received first place recognition from Pictures of the Year International and the Overseas Press Club, among other awards.

Ruined (play)

Ruined is a play by Lynn Nottage. The play won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play involves the plight of women in the civil war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone (June 8, 1915 – November 19, 2011) was an American poet, author, and teacher.

Ryan Gabrielson

Ryan Gabrielson is an American investigative journalist. He won a George Polk Award, and Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

Zubair Shah

Pir Zubair Shah is a Pakistani journalist, hailing from South Waziristan in the tribal areas along the Afghan border, with the New York Times.

In 2009 Pir Zubair Shah shared a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting with Jane Perlez, Eric P. Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti.

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