Great Timing: Adam Johnson's North Korean Novel Wins Pulitzer Prize For Fiction

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been won by Stanford University creative writing teacher Adam Johnson for his book The Orphan Master's Son. Last year, the judges failed to select a winner of the award for the first time in 35 years, though there was no trouble this time and Johnson emerged the victor for a novel set in North Korea.

"I wanted to give a picture of what it was like to be an ordinary person in North Korea," said Johnson. "It's illegal there for citizens to interact with foreigners, so the only way I could really get to know these people was through my imagination," he added. Johnson is awarded the prestigious literary prize as tensions begin to grown between North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the United States. The North incurred the ire of its international neighbours after performing an underground nuclear test and a daily barrage of threats against the U.S. has made the situation much worse.

Pulitzer judges praised Johnson's book as "an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart," and the bizarre antics of Kim-Jong Un will no doubt incite plenty more fiction in the years to come. 

Other books in contention for this year's prize included What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander, and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The non-fiction prize was awarded to Gilbert King for Devil In The Grove: Thurgood Mashall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America, which details racial injustice in Florida in 1949. Sharon Old's Stag's Leap won the poetry award.


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