2010 Finalists

Letters, Drama, and Music

Fiction
Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet (Soft Skull Press)
An imaginative collection of linked stories, often describing a memorable encounter between a famous person and an animal, underscoring the human folly of longing for significance while chasing trifles.

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (W.W. Norton & Company)
A collection of beautifully crafted stories that exposes the Western reader to the hopes, dreams and dramas of an array of characters in feudal Pakistan, resulting in both an aesthetic and cultural achievement.
Drama
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz
A play invoking the exaggerated role-playing of professional wrestling to explore themes from globalization to ethnic stereotyping, as the audience becomes both intimate insider and ringside spectator.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph
A play about the chaotic Iraq war that uses a network of characters, including a caged tiger, to ponder violent, senseless death, blending social commentary with tragicomic mayhem.

In the Next Room or the vibrator play by Sarah Ruhl
An inventive work that mixes comedy and drama as it examines the medical practice of a 19th century American doctor and confronts questions of female sexuality and emancipation.
History
Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company)
An evocative, heavily researched examination of an industrial giant’s grandiose scheme to create a model rubber plantation deep in the Amazon forest.

Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 by Gordon S. Wood ((Oxford University Press)
A lucid exploration of a turbulent era when a profoundly changing America, despite the sin of slavery, came to see itself as a beacon to the world, demonstrating human capacity for self-government.
Biography or Autobiography
Woodrow Wilson: A Biography by John Milton Cooper, Jr. (Alfred A. Knopf)
A magisterial work that corrects erroneous perceptions and casts important new light on one of the most pivotal and enigmatic American presidents, fully placing the man in the context of his times.

Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey (Alfred A. Knopf)
An absorbing, impeccably researched exploration of the famed writer John Cheever, illuminating his greatness as well as flaws, told in a compelling voice worthy of the subject.
Poetry
Tryst by Angie Estes (Oberlin College Press)
A collection of poems remarkable for its variety of subjects, array of genres and nimble use of language.

Inseminating the Elephant by Lucia Perillo (Copper Canyon Press)
A collection of poems, often laced with humor, that examine popular culture, the limits of the human body and the tragicomic aspects of everyday experience.
General Nonfiction
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities by John Cassidy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
A work that probes the complexity of the Great Recession, using solid research and precise documentation to reveal not only a gripping human drama but also a tense clash of ideas.

The Evolution of God by Robert Wright (Little, Brown and Company)
A sweeping look at the origins and development of religious belief throughout human history.
Music
String Quartet No. 3 by Fred Lerdahl
Premiered on December 8, 2009, in Cleveland, Ohio, a remarkable work that displays impeccable technical facility and palpable emotion.

Steel Hammer by Julia Wolfe (G. Schirmer, Inc.)
Premiered on November 13, 2009, in Gainesville, FL, an innovative composition that, with voices and old-time instruments, turns the old folk tune “John Henry” into an epic distillation of Appalachia.

Journalism

Public Service
Asbury Park Press
For its exhaustive examination of how an archaic property tax system harms New Jersey’s economy and ordinary families, using stories and interactive databases to spark pledges of statewide reform.

Los Angeles Times and ProPublica (a joint entry)
For their exposure of gaps in California’s oversight of dangerous and incompetent nurses, blending investigative scrutiny and multimedia storytelling to produce corrective changes.
Breaking News Reporting
Staff of The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.
For its sweeping coverage of 44 arrests in a widespread corruption scandal that snared local officials, several religious leaders and others.

Staff of The Washington Post
For its compelling coverage of an Army psychiatrist, with long ties to Washington, who killed 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, a Texas military base.
Investigative Reporting
Michael Braga, Chris Davis and Matthew Doig of Sarasota Herald-Tribune
For their in-depth reporting and computer analysis that unraveled $10 billion in suspicious Florida real estate transactions, triggering local and state efforts to curb abuses.

Michael Moss and members of The New York Times Staff
For relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger and other food safety issues that, in print and online, spotlighted defects in federal regulation and led to improved practices.(Moved by the Board to the Explanatory Reporting category)
Explanatory Reporting
Dan Egan of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
For his path-breaking coverage of how invasive aquatic creatures have disrupted the ecosystem of the Great Lakes and other bodies of water, illuminating the science and politics of an important national issue.

The New York Times Staff, and notably Gina Kolata
For their exploration of the lack of progress in the 40-year war on cancer, combining explanation of scientific complexity and the exposure of myths with an empathetic portrayal of the human suffering caused by the disease.

Kirsten Grind, Jeanne Lang Jones and Alwyn Scott of the Puget Sound (Wash.) Business Journal, a weekly
For their meticulous examination of the collapse of Washington Mutual, the biggest bank failure in U.S. history, plumbing causes and raising troubling questions about federal regulation.
Local Reporting
Dave Philipps of The Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO
For his painstaking stories on the spike in violence within a battered combat brigade returning to Fort Carson after bloody deployments to Iraq, leading to increased mental health care for soldiers.

Ben Montgomery, Waveney Ann Moore and photographer Edmund D. Fountain of St. Petersburg Times
For their dogged reporting and searing storytelling that illuminated decades of abuse at a Florida reform school for boys and sparked remedial action.
National Reporting
Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian of Los Angeles Times
For their tenacious reporting on how design flaws and weak federal oversight contributed to a potentially lethal problem with Toyota vehicles, resulting in corrective steps and a congressional inquiry.

Greg Gordon, Kevin G. Hall and Chris Adams of McClatchy Newspapers
For their examination of the nation’s financial collapse and notably on the involvement of Goldman Sachs.
International Reporting
Borzou Daragahi of Los Angeles Times
For his coverage of the disputed election in Iran and its bloody aftermath, marked by firsthand knowledge and close-up portraits of individuals caught up in events.

David Rohde of The New York Times
For his riveting account of being held prisoner by the Taliban for seven months before his dramatic escape, using his eye for detail to depict memorably his militant captors.
Feature Writing
Dan Barry of The New York Times
For his portfolio of closely observed pieces that movingly capture how the great recession is changing lives and relationships in America.

Sheri Fink of ProPublica, in collaboration with The New York Times Magazine
For a story that chronicles the urgent life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. (Moved by the Board to the Investigative Reporting category.)
Commentary
David Leonhardt of The New York Times
For his illumination of the nation’s most pressing and complex economic concerns, from health care reform to the worst recession in decades.

Phillip Morris of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
For his columns that close the distance between the reader and the rough streets of the city, confronting hard realities without leaving people to feel hopeless.
Criticism
Michael Feingold of The Village Voice, a New York City weekly
For his engaging, authoritative drama reviews that fuse passion and knowledge as he helps readers understand what makes a play or a performance successful.

A.O. Scott of The New York Times
For his incisive film reviews that, with aplomb, embrace a wide spectrum of movies and often explore their connection to larger issues in society or the arts.
Editorial Writing
John G. Carlton of St. Louis Post-Dispatch
For his editorials on health care reform that cut through the clutter, debunk myths and often bring the national debate home to Missouri.

John McCormick and Marie Dillon of Chicago Tribune
For their unyielding editorials urging reform of a culture of corruption in Illinois state government, repeatedly sounding the alarm when lawmakers faltered.
Editorial Cartooning
Tony Auth of The Philadelphia Inquirer
For his masterful simplicity in expressing consistently fearless positions on national and local issues.

Matt Wuerker of Politico
For his broad portfolio that encompasses the nation’s historic political year, using rich artistry, wry humor and sometimes animation to drive home his deft satire.
Breaking News Photography
Staff of Associated Press
For its unforgettable images that take viewers to the frontlines of America’s war in Afghanistan, recording a range of scenes and emotions, from mirth to pain and sorrow.

Staff of New York Daily News
For its compelling and remarkably complete photo coverage of the miraculous landing of a US Airways jetliner in the Hudson River off Manhattan without loss of life.
Feature Photography
Mary F. Calvert, freelance photojournalist
For her courageous work published in The Washington Times that vividly documents how rapes, by the tens of thousands, have become a weapon of war in Congo.

Robert Cohen of St. Louis Post-Dispatch
For his sensitive portrayal of homeless suburban families camping in motels during the recession, often recording memorable emotional moments.