Established in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize is awarded every year in 21 categories in newspaper journalism, literary achievements and musical composition. “Let’s Talk About It,” part of a statewide program, will focus on four past winners across three literary categories. Multiple copies of each title will be available for check-out.
Here are the titles covered in the local program, with descriptions provided by the Lewiston City Library:
“Growing Up” by Russell Baker
Era covered: Depression and post World War II
Description: Born during the Depression, Baker learns early that hard work may go unrewarded in economic downturns. Baker triumphs in the end, rising from a newspaper delivery boy to columnist at the New York Times.
Of note: This is “the saddest, funniest, most tragical yet comical picture of coming of age in the U.S.A. in the Depression years and World War II that has ever been written.” — Harrison Salisbury, fellow journalist at the New York Times
“Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard
Era covered: 1970-71
Description: Dillard’s solitary “Pilgrimage” along the creek that borders her property in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke, Va., does not resemble that of Chaucer’s Canterbury pilgrims. Much of this book reflects what Dillard sees, what she teaches herself to discern in the world around her; she regards herself not as a scientist, but as an “explorer.”
Of note: “I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.” — from “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”
“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
Era covered: Depression
Description: Convinced that things must be better in California than they were at the time in Oklahoma, dust bowl migrants were drawn westward by luxurious visions. The reality was far different from what they had dreamed, and what they found was poverty, exploitation and powerlessness. Instead of sweet California grapes, they found bitter grapes of resentment and anger.
Of note: Though briefly banned in some libraries and schools, “The Grapes of Wrath” is among the most widely read pieces of 20th-century American literature
“Honey in the Horn” by H.L. Davis
Era covered: Homesteading days of Oregon, early 1900s
Description: With realistic and colorful detail and rough humor, the work describes the quirky individuality and essential isolation of various frontier types of men and women, as it describes the search for a suspected murderer and the yearning relationship between a young man and a gypsy-like horse seller’s daughter.
Of note: The book offended a lot of Oregonians. “‘Honey in the Horn’ reveals as much about the prevailing attitudes and beliefs during H.L. Davis’ lifetime as it does about the earlier era in which it is set.” Oregon State University Press
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: “Let’s Talk About It: Pulitzer Prize Winning Books”
WHEN: All discussions take place at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, “Growing Up” by Russell Baker, hosted by Paula Coomer
March 28, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard, hosted by Barbara Meldrum
April 11, “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, hosted by Georgia Tiffany
April 15, “Honey in the Horn” by H.L. Davis, hosted by Mary Clearman Blew
WHERE: Lewiston City Library