Thursday, April 15, 2010

Paul Harding, UMass Amherst Grad, Receives a Pulitzer Prize for a Novel that Almost Wasn't Published

Paul Harding, who graduated UMass Amherst in 1992, received a Pulitzer Prize for his debut novel, Tinkers, that took him three years to get published. It was, finally, published by a "tiny" press, the Bellevue Literary Press, which is a nonprofit publisher connected to New York University’s School of Medicine. The Boston Globe had a very special article on how Harding's book was eventually published, without much fanfare, and without any accompanying media blitzes, or use of social media. According to the Globe article, written by Geoff Edgers, and entitled, "A Tide of Affection for Prose that Nearly Went Unpublished," the success of “Tinkers’’ can be linked to a handful of people who were so moved by the richly lyrical story of an old man facing his final days that they had to tell others about it.

It is gratifying that in this day and age the beauty of the written word can still get noticed and a writer can be recognized for his work.

Why the Globe article did not acknowledge that Harding got his degree from UMass Amherst is beyond me. You can read more about him here.

Luckily, the book is going back to press, since only 15,000 copies have been printed. I look forward to getting my copy, not only for its receipt of the Pulitzer Prize, but also because of the author who never stopped believing in his work, and kept on working to get it published.

There is a nice moral here for all the researchers and writers out there!