The Hungarian-born Joseph Pulitzer was an innovative publisher of the New York World and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. When he died in 1904, his will provided for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes as an incentive to excellence. Pulitzer specified solely four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one for education, and four traveling scholarships. In letters, prizes were to go to an American novel, an original American play performed in New York, a book on the history of the United States, an American biography, and a history of public service by the press. Since the inception of the prizes in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize Board has increased the number of awards to 21 and introduced poetry, music, and photography as subjects, while adhering to the spirit of the founder's will and intent. The prize for the novel, whose winners are shown below, honors books that address the largest themes in life, the raw passion and tragedy of the human condition.


2004 Edward P. Jones The Known World
2003 Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex
2002 Richard Russo Empire Falls
2001 Michael Chabon The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
2000 Jhumpa Lahiri Interpreter of Maladies
1999 Michael Cunningham The Hours
1998 Philip Roth American Pastoral
1997 Stephen Millhauser Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
1996 Richard Ford Independence Day
1995 Carol Shield The Stone Diaries
1994 E. Annie Proulx The Shipping News
1993 Robert Olen Butler A Scent From a Strange Mountain
1992 Jane Smiley A Thousand Acres
1991 John Updike Rabbit at Rest
1990 Oscar Hijuelos The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
1989 Anne Tyler Breathing Lessons
1988 Toni Morrison Beloved
1987 Peter Taylor A Summons to Memphis
1986 Larry McMurty Lonesome Dove
1985 Alison Lurie Foreign Affairs
1984 William Kennedy Ironweed
1983 Alice Walker The Color Purple
1982 John Updike Rabbit is Rich
1981 John Kennedy O'Toole A Confederacy Of Dunces
1980 Norman Mailer The Executioner's Song
1979 John Cheever The Stories of John Cheever
1978 James Alan McPherson Elbow Room
1977 No Award  
1976 Saul Bellow Homboldt's Gift
1975 Michael Ssaara The Killer Angels
1974 No Award  
1973 Eudora Welty The Optimist's Daughter
1972 Wallace Stegner Angle of Repose
1971 No Award  
1970 Jean Stafford Collected Stories
1969 N. Scott Momaday House Made of Dawn
1968 William Styron The Confessions of Nat Turner
1967 Bernard Malamud The Fixer
1966 Katherine Anne Porter The Collected stories
1965 Shirley Ann Grau The Keepers of the House
1964 No Award  
1963 William Faulkner The Reivers
1962 Edwin O'Connor The Edge of Sadness
1961 Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird
1960 Allen Drury Advise and Consent
1959 Robert Lewis Taylor The Travels of Jamie McPheeters
1958 James Agee A Death in the Family
1957 No Award  
1956 MacKinlay Kantor Andersonville
1955 William Faulkner A Fable
1954 No Award  
1953 Ernest Hemmingway The Old Man and the Sea
1952 Herman Wouk The Caine Mutiny
1951 Conrad Richter The Town
1950 A. B. Guthrie, Jr. The Way West
1949 James Gould Cozzens Guard of Honor
1948 James A. Michener Tales of the South Pacific
1947 Robert Penn Warren All the King's Men
1946 No Award  
1945 John Hersey A Bell for Adano
1944 Marvin Flavin Journey in the Dark
1943 Upton Sinclair Dragon's Teeth
1942 Ellen glasgow In This Our Life
1941 No Award  
1940 John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath
1939 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings The Yearling
1938 John Phillips Marquand The Late George Appley
1937 Margaret Mitchell Gone With the Wind
1936 Harold L. Davis Honey in the Horn
1935 Josephine Winslow Johnson Now in November
1934 Caroline Miller Lamb in His Bosom
1933 T. S. Stribling The Store
1932 Pearl S. Buck The Good Earth
1931 Margaret Ayer Barnes Years of Grace
1930 Oliver La Farge Laughing Boy
1929 Julia Peterkin Scarlet Sister Mary
1928 Thornton Wilder The Bridge of San Luis Rey
1927 Louis Bromfield Early Autumn
1926 Sinclair Lewis Arrowsmith
1925 Edna Ferber So Big
1924 Margaret Wilson The Able McLaughlins
1923 Willa Cather One of Ours
1922 Booth Tarkington Alice Adams
1921 Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence
1920 No Award  
1919 Booth Tarkington The Magnificent Ambersons 
1918 Ernest Poole His Family