Pulitzer Prize: these winners who marked their time

By awarding the “Pulitzer price for public service” to the two newspapers which exposed the Snowden affair, the Guardian US and the Washington post, the members of the Pulitzer Prize jury (18 journalists, authors and academics) proved theirrespect to whistleblowers, these whistleblowers, who do not hesitate to reveal confidential information, even if it means jeopardizing their security. As did Edward Snowden.

But the Pulitzer Prizes – awarded each year at Columbia University – do not only recognize journalistic productions. They are also attached to the field of literature and music. Selection, from the long list of Pulitzer Prize winners, of some of the most outstanding prizes.

1957: A President’s Pulitzer

With his autobiography Profiles in Courage, John Fitzgerald Kennedy becomes the first US President to win the Pulitzer. And to this day, he remains the only one.

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1960: The Pulitzer opens its borders

Yasushi Nagao is Japanese: he is the first non-American winner of the Pulitzer Prize, for his photograph capturing the assassination of Inejiro Asanuma, member of the Japanese Socialist Party.

1961: The Pulitzer puts a novel into orbit

Sold 30 million copies worldwide, To Kill a Mockingbird (Don’t shoot the mockingbird, in French), by Harper Lee, is cited by Americans as the second book, immediately after the bible, which changed their lives. Largely thanks to its dedication by the novel’s Pulitzer jury, To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960, reigns among the great classics of American literature.

1973: The Watergate Pulitzer

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, reporters at Washington post, are rewarded for their investigations within the framework of Watergate, this major political scandal in the United States which cost Richard Nixon his career.

1992: The first comic book rewarded

The first comic book to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize is Maus, by Art Spiegelman, which deals with the Shoah. The Nazis are represented there by cats, the Jews by mice.

The comic book Maus, by Art Spiegelman has been translated into eighteen languages.

The comic book Maus, by Art Spiegelman has been translated into eighteen languages.

AFP / Bertrand Langlois

The work has received critical acclaim; in many colleges, professors choose to approach World War II through these drawings. This comic book Pulitzer is seen as a symbolic victory for the genre, erecting it as a work of literature and an art object.

2008: The lesson of humility

Joshua Bell, an exceptional violinist, plays in a metro station. Nobody – or almost – stops. Passers-by do not know that they have before their eyes one of the most talented musicians on the planet, whose concerts are sold out. Journalist Gene Weingarten recounts this experience in the Washington Post. This earned him his first Pulitzer (the second will follow in 2010).


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2010: The crowning glory of the Internet

For the first time, a publication on the web has received the Pulitzer Prize, category “investigative journalism”: the article is titled “The Deadly Choices at Memorial” and recounts Hurricane Katrina in 2005 from a New Orleans medical center. It was published on the information site ProPublica. The so-called “traditional” media are therefore no longer the only ones competing for the prize.


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Pulitzer Prize: these winners who marked their time

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