Paul Harding’s debut, ‘Tinker,’ takes Pulitzer Prize for fiction
By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY
Tinkers, a debut novel by Paul Harding, a former drummer for the rock group Cold Water Flat, was the surprise winner Monday of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
A lyrical, 191-page account of a man’s dying days and his relationship with his father, Tinkers got great reviews but is published by Bellevue Literary Press, a small, 3-year-old, non-profit publisher affiliated with New York University’s School of Medicine.
THE LIST: Details about all the Pulitzer winners
Editorial director Erika Goldman says Tinkers has sold 15,000 copies since its publication in January 2009. That’s a hit for a small press but nothing by commercial standards. Bellevue plans to reprint more copies but hasn’t decided how many.
The last time a small publisher won the fiction Pulitzer was in 1981, for John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces, released by Louisiana University Press.
Harding, 42, says he’s “stunned. It was a little book from a little publisher that was hand-sold from start to finish.” The Pulitzer’s “imprimatur,” he says, adds “a sense of freedom. I can afford to continue doing what I love to do.”
Other Pulitzers in the arts:
•General non-fiction: The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David E. Hoffman
• History:Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed