FAQ

(updated 05/10/2014)


 


1. What information is available on the Pulitzer Prizes website?

The Pulitzer Prizes site contains the complete list of Pulitzer Prize winners from 1917 (the first year the Prizes were awarded) to the present. The site also lists Nominated Finalists from 1980 (the first year finalists were announced) through the present.

The Pulitzer site also contains winning entries in the Journalism categories from 1995 through the present, and selected material from winners in the Letters, Drama and Music and Special Awards and Citations categories. Also included are biographies of winners from 1995 through the present and information on Board members and Nominating Jurors. Beginning with the 2013 Prizes, work of Nominated Finalists in the Journalism categories is also available.

In addition to this searchable content, the site provides entry information for the upcoming prizes, photos, press releases and contact information for the Pulitzer Prizes office.

2. The timeline does not work for me--how can I access information?

If the timeline does not work, use the Go to year box in the left (blue) column. If you're using a Mac, try going to Settings > General and select always show scroll bar.

3. I did a search on Fiction and found no winners from before 1948--why is this happening?

Before 1948, the Fiction category was called Novel. Try searching for Novel.

4. How can I get entry information?

Visit our How to Enter page. All entries must be made using our online entry system. Hard copies of books, plays and recordings must also be sent to the Pulitzer office. Journalism entries are uploaded to the site.

5. Must I be a U.S. citizen to apply for a Pulitzer Prize?

Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for the Prizes in Letters, Drama and Music (with the exception of the History category in Letters where the book must be a history of the United States but the author may be of any nationality). For the Journalism competition, entrants may be of any nationality but work must have appeared in a U.S. newspaper published at least once a week, on a newspaper's Web site or on an online news organization's Web site. (Please also see FAQ #11)

6. What are the criteria for the judging of The Pulitzer Prizes?

There are no set criteria for the judging of the Prizes. The definitions of each category (see How to Enter or Administration page) are the only guidelines. It is left up to the Nominating Juries and The Pulitzer Prize Board to determine exactly what makes a work "distinguished."

7. What are the categories in the Journalism competition?

Check this link to the Administration page.

8. What are the categories in the Letters (books) competition?

Check this link to the Administration page.

9. Are self-published books eligible?

Self-published books are eligible. Books must be published in hardcover or paperback form. We do not accept books that have only been published digitally.

10. What is the definition of the Music category?

For distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year.

11. What news organizations are eligible for the journalism competition?

The Pulitzer Prize Board has expanded eligibility in two categories: Investigative Reporting and Feature Writing. Magazines and their websites that publish at least weekly may enter only these categories. In all other categories, entries must come from a U.S. newspaper or news site that publishes at least weekly. In all cases, entries must adhere to the highest journalistic principles. Broadcast media and their websites are ineligible in all categories. Entries that involve collaboration between an eligible organization and ineligible media will be considered if the eligible organization does the preponderance of the work and publishes it at least simultaneously with the ineligible partner.

12. Are posthumous entries eligible?

We accept entries made on behalf of authors who are deceased.

13. Why must a photograph of the entrant be submitted with the entry?

These photographs become part of our press packet if the entrant is selected as a Pulitzer Prize winner.

14. How can I get a copy of a Pulitzer Prizewinning photo?

The Pulitzer Prize office does not retain rights to Pulitzer Prizewinning photographs. To get a copy of a photo, you must either contact the news organization or the photographer directly. There are a few books containing Pulitzer Prize photos: Moments: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs edited by Hal Buell (1999: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishing); Moments: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs edited by Sheryle and John Leekley (New York: Crown Publishers, 1982) and the catalog for "Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs" exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

15. How can I get a copy of or license Kevin Carter's 1994 Pulitzer Prizewinning photo?

Corbis Photos owns the rights to this photograph.

16. How can I get a copy of or license Charles Porter IV's 1996 Pulitzer Prizewinning photo?

ZUMA Press exclusively represents the rights to this photograph.

17. How can I read winning articles from before 1995?

Photocopies of winning articles from before 1995 are available from Columbia University's Journalism Library for a fee.

18. Where can I read the last few installments of the 1998 Pulitzer Prizewinner in Feature Writing "Angels & Demons" by Thomas French?

They are available on the St. Petersburg Times Website.

19. Who was Joseph Pulitzer?

Please see our Biography page for a biography of Joseph Pulitzer.

20. Who was the first African-American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize?

Gwendolyn Brooks was awarded the 1950 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for "Annie Allen."

21. Why in some years was there no award given in a particular category?

According to The Plan of Award "If in any year all the competitors in any category shall fail to gain a majority vote of the Pulitzer Prize Board, the prize or prizes may be withheld."

22. Who designed the Pulitzer Prize gold medal?

The medal was designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French.

23. Who was the only U.S. president to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize?

John F. Kennedy was awarded the 1957 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for his book "Profiles in Courage".

24. What does it mean to be a Pulitzer Prize Winner or a Pulitzer Prize Nominated Finalist?
  • A Pulitzer Prize Winner may be an individual, a group of individuals, or a news organization's staff.
  • Nominated Finalists are selected by the Nominating Juries for each category as finalists in the competition. The Pulitzer Prize Board generally selects the Pulitzer Prize Winners from the three nominated finalists in each category. The names of nominated finalists have been announced only since 1980. Work that has been submitted for Prize consideration but not chosen as either a nominated finalist or a winner is termed an entry or submission. No information on entrants is provided.
  • Since 1980, when we began to announce nominated finalists, we have used the term "nominee" for entrants who became finalists. We discourage someone saying he or she was "nominated" for a Pulitzer simply because an entry was sent to us.
  • The Public Service prize is always awarded to a news organization, not an individual, although an individual may be named in the citation.
  • The Pulitzer Prize Board may elect to bestow No Award in a category in any given year.
  • On rare occasions The Pulitzer Prize Board will award a Special Award or Citation to a work or an individual of particular merit.

25. Are the Pulitzer Prizes awarded at a ceremony?

The Pulitzer Prizes are awarded at a luncheon in late May, about a month after the names of the winners have been announced. The luncheon takes place at Low Library on the Columbia University campus.

26. What do Pulitzer Prizewinners get when they win?

There are 21 Pulitzer categories. In 20 of those categories the winners receive a $10,000 cash award and a certificate. Only the winner in the Public Service category of the Journalism competition is awarded a gold medal. The Public Service prize is always awarded to a news organization, not an individual, although an individual may be named in the citation.

27. Is there a Pulitzer Prize logo?

No, there is no logo for The Pulitzer Prize.

28. Where can I find information on the Nobel Prizes?

The Nobel Prizes are in no way affiliated with The Pulitzer Prizes. Please check the Nobel Prize Web Site for information.

29. How is "Pulitzer" pronounced?

The correct pronunciation is "PULL it  sir."

30. How do I contact the Pulitzer Prize office?

Please see our Contact page for contact information.