The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is one of the most prestigious awards in American literature. Previous fiction winners have included Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Jennifer Egan and Philip Roth.
Three finalists were named: David Foster Wallace for "The Pale King", Karen Russell for "Swamplandia" and, Denis Johnson for "Train Dreams."
And yet this year, for the first time since 1977, the committee has decided that no book is worthy of the prize. The three jurors were Susan Larson, the former book editor of The Times-Picayune, Maureen Corrigan, book critic for Fresh Air on NPR, and the novelist Michael Cunningham.
According to the book "The Pulitzer Prize Archive", in 1977 the board vetoed the jury's decision to give the prize to "A River Runs Through It", saying that none of the shortlist were prizeworthy. It's unclear if the same thing occurred this year.
In the other literary categories, the late Manning Marable was awarded the History Pulitzer (rather than the biography prize) for "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention", Stephen Greenblatt was awarded the General Nonfiction Prize for "The Swerve: How The World Became Modern", to go with his National Book Award this year, and John Lewis Gaddis won the Biography or Autobiography award for "George F. Kennan: An American Life".
The Pulitzer Prizes for for achievements in journalism, literature and musical composition were established in 1917, and are run by Columbia University.