Hank Williams Wins Pulitzer Prize
The 2010 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced, and the journalism winners include the usual big newspapers – not surprisingly The New York Times and The Washington Post both won honors in multiple categories – as well as a few smaller ones – The Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier and the Des Moines Register.
Pulitizers in the field of literature and arts were also awarded, with top honors going to “Tinkers” by Paul Harding (Fiction), “Next to Normal” by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Drama), “Versed” by Rae Armantrout (Poetry), “Violin Concerto” by Jennifer Higdon (Music) and others.
But the biggest surprise of all was the Pulitzer Prize Board’s awarding of a posthumous Special Citation to Hank Williams.
Yes, that’s right, Hank Williams won a Pulitzer.
The citation praised Williams for “his craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life.”
“The citation, above all, recognizes the lasting impact of Williams as a creative force that influenced a wide range of other musicians and performers,” said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. “At the same time, the award highlights the Board’s desire to broaden its Music Prize and recognize the full range of musical excellence that
might not have been considered in the past.”
The Pulitzer Board has, in fact, awarded several other Special Citations in music during the recent years, honoring Thelonious Monk (2006), John Coltrane (2007) and Bob Dylan (2008).
Williams, who died in 1953 at age 29, wrote such classic country songs as “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Cold Cold Heart,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Jambalaya.”
For a complete list of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winners, go here.