While The New York Times was grabbing all the attention this afternoon with word that it had won five 2009 Pulitzer Prizes, three faculty members earned the prestigious honors, plus $10,000 each, for their literary works. They were:
Annette Gordon-Reed, a law professor at New York Law School, who won in the history category for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton & Company), a multigenerational saga that the Pulitzer citation says “casts provocative new light” on the relationship between Sally Hemings and her master, Thomas Jefferson. Ms. Gordon-Reed initially laid out her thesis of the relationship in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (University Press of Virginia, 1997), which was later supported by new DNA evidence.
Lynn Nottage, a visiting lecturer in playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, who won in the drama category for Ruined, a play that the Pulitzer citation says “compels audiences to face the horror of wartime rape and brutality while still finding affirmation of life and hope amid hopelessness.”
Elizabeth Strout, a member of the M.F.A. faculty at Queens University, in Charlotte, N.C., who won in the fiction category for Olive Kitteridge (Random House), a collection of short stories about the title character, set in small-town Maine, that the citations says “packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose.”