Nine of the 12 authors awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction since 2000 have ties to New England. (No award was given in 2012.) They include:
2010 – Tinkers by Paul Harding, a Massachusetts resident who earned his bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst and has taught writing at Harvard. Tinkers is also based in Massachusetts.
2009 – Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, a Maine native who also spent time growing up New Hampshire. The 13 short stories in Olive Kitteridge are set in Maine.
2008 – The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, a writing professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and fiction editor at Boston Review.
2007 – The Road by Cormac McCarthy, who was born in Providence, RI.
2006 – March by Geraldine Brooks, who lives on Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. March tells the story of the absent father from Louisa May Alcott’s beloved Massachusetts-based classic Little Women as he fights in the Civil War.
2005 – Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, who received her bachelor’s degree from Pembroke College, the former women’s college at Brown University in Providence, RI, that closed in 1971.
2003 – Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, who like Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown.
2002- Empire Falls by Richard Russo, a Maine resident who set Empire Falls in a small, fictional blue-collar Maine town.
2000 – Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, who grew up in Kingston, RI, received several degrees from Boston University and has taught creative writing at both Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her protagonist in “The Third and Final Continent,” the final story in Interpreter of Maladies, is based on her father, a librarian at the University of Rhode Island.