The famed Pulitzer Prize board has decided to redefine who’s in the running for their prestigious award in the categories of books, drama, and music. Previously exclusive to US citizens, Pulitzer Prizes is now welcoming entries from permanent US residents and individuals who view the US as their primary home. This change, slated for the 2025 award cycle, still maintains that submissions should be originally penned in English and published within US borders.
Behind this shift in policy? An outpour of voices, including a compelling open letter on LitHub, emphasizing the value and significance of immigrant and undocumented writers to American literature. One of the many advocates for this change, poet Javier Zamora, who himself was previously ineligible due to his undocumented status, expressed his elation over the news. He hopes this move will set a precedent for other arts organizations in the US.
This decision is not just a departure from the award’s legacy since 1917 but also an acknowledgment of the diverse fabric of modern American literature. While the Pulitzer’s journalism category has always been inclusive of all nationalities, the change in the literary, drama, and music awards is a fresh stride. With this, the board has handed the task of determining residency to authors and publishers, urging them to reflect on whether the US is viewed as a permanent abode and the essence of the work as ‘American’.
Interestingly, Pulitzer isn’t the first to revamp its eligibility criteria. Several organizations, including the Academy of American Poets and The Poetry Foundation, have already broadened their horizons by welcoming immigrants, regardless of their legal status.
- Pulitzer Prize board revises eligibility to include permanent US residents and those seeing the US as their main home.
- This change, effective from the 2025 award cycle, was influenced by a compelling open letter and public opinion.
- Poet Javier Zamora, once ineligible, celebrates the decision.
- The move aligns the literary awards more with the Pulitzer’s journalism prizes, which have always been more inclusive.
- Other organizations, like the Academy of American Poets and The Poetry Foundation, have previously adopted similar eligibility expansions.