The 1954 Pulitzer Decision

The 1954 Pulitzer Fiction Jury was composed of two men: Eric P. Kelly, a returning juror from Dartmouth and author of children’s books -most notably the Newbury winner, The Trumpeter of Krakow (1929); and Harris F. Fletcher, an English professor at the University of Illinois and America’s foremost authority on John Milton.

Unfortunately neither juror could agree on a novel to win the award in 1954. Eric Kelly recommended several finalists: Ramey by Jack D. Ferris, The Sands of Karakorum by James Ullman, The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow, and The Four Lives of Mundy Tolliver by Ben Lucien Burman. Meanwhile, Harris Fletcher recommended The Street of the Three Friends by Myron Brinig and The Deep Sleep by Wright Morris. Since neither side could agree, the Pulitzer Board elected not to issue a Pulitzer Prize in 1954 (just one year after Hemingway won the Pulitzer in 1953 for The Old Man and the Searead my reflections on The Old Man and the Sea and the 1953 Pulitzer Prize decision here).

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