The Prize Is Right

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Illustration by Andy WardWelcome, contestants! As the 99th annual Pulitzer Prizes in journalism and the arts were announced in Pulitzer Hall, and the distinguished judges recovered from the task of choosing just 21 winners from 3,000 entrants, we thought we’d mark this annual spring rite by testing your Pulitzer IQ. Pencils ready?

1) Who was the first non­-classical composer to win the Pulitzer for music?
A) Wynton Marsalis
B) John Zorn
C) Duke Ellington

2) In 1999, which newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for its coverage of reckless gun use by undertrained city police officers?
A) The Chicago Tribune
B) The Washington Post
C) The San Jose Mercury News

3) Whose image is depicted on the Pulitzer Prize gold medal?
A) William Lloyd Garrison
B) Benjamin Franklin
C) Joseph Pulitzer

4) Which nominated play was found insufficiently “uplifting” to merit a prize?
A) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, by Edward Albee
B) Angels in America, by Tony Kushner
C) A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams

5) Ernest Hemingway won the fiction prize for which novel?
A) The Old Man and the Sea
B) For Whom the Bell Tolls
C) The Sun Also Rises

6) Who was the only president to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize?
A) John F. Kennedy
B) Woodrow Wilson
C) Dwight D. Eisenhower

7) In 1979, the staff photographers of the Boston Herald American won for which story?
A) The Boston school­-desegregation and busing struggle
B) The installation of Pope John Paul I
C) The blizzard of 1978

8) Diana Marcum of the Los Angeles Times won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for what topic?
A) The California drought
B) The fight over teacher tenure
C) The proposed ban on plastic bags

9) Who was the first African-­American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize?
A) Gwendolyn Brooks, in 1950
B) Ralph Ellison, in 1953
C) Alex Haley, in 1977

10) Of the 21 Pulitzer Prizes typically awarded each year, how many are given for journalism?
A) 10
B) 14
C) 16

11) In 1961, which paper won its first national­-reporting Pulitzer for exposing an unethical timber transaction?
A) The Christian Science Monitor
B) The Seattle Times
C) The Wall Street Journal

12) Which of the following has happened 63 times in the history of the Pulitzer Prize?
A) New York-based newspapers have won
B) No prize was awarded for a particular category
C) The ceremony has coincided with Columbia’s graduation

13) In the 1990s, Columbia journalism professor Sam Freedman, cultural historian Peter Gay ’51GSAS, and memoirist Richard Rodriguez ’69GSAS were finalists in what Pulitzer category?
A) Biography
B) History
C) General nonfiction

14) The Pulitzer board’s $1.5 million effort to promote Pulitzer awareness in advance of the prizes’ 2016 centennial is known by what name?
A) The Bonfires Initiative
B) The Campfires Initiative
C) The Firelight Initiative


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