Listen ad-free

Pulitzer Winners

The Book Review

12-05-2023 • 34 mins

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday, bestowing one of America’s most prestigious awards in journalism and the arts on writers across a range of categories. Among the winners were three authors who had also appeared on the Book Review’s list of the 10 Best Books of 2022: the New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, for his memoir “Stay True,” and two novelists who (in a first for the Pulitzers) shared the prize in fiction, Barbara Kingsolver for “Demon Copperhead” and Hernan Diaz for “Trust.”

On this week’s episode, Hsu and Diaz chat with the host Gilbert Cruz about their books and what it’s like to win a Pulitzer.

“I wish I had a more articulate thing to say, but it was just truly weird,” Hsu tells Cruz about learning he was the inaugural winner in the memoir category. (Before this year, memoirs were judged alongside biographies.) “It was a thrill, but it was also just truly a weird out-of-body experience.”

For Diaz, the Pulitzer announcement came while he was at a fried chicken and waffle restaurant in South Carolina, where he was on tour to promote his book’s paperback release. “I totally lost it,” he says. “I had to go out and, I’m a little bit embarrassed to confess it but I was weeping sitting on the curb. And these three lovely older ladies come by and they ask me, Oh sweetheart, honey, are you OK? I’m not exactly sure what I said, but I shared the good news with them and suddenly all four of us were hugging in the middle of the street. So it was a good moment.”

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to