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Pulitzer Prize Board Amending Citizenship Requirement in Books, Drama and Music

New York, NY – WEBWIRE

The Pulitzer Prize Board has decided to expand eligibility for the Books, Drama and Music awards beyond the current U.S. citizenship requirement to include permanent residents of the United States and those who have made the United States their longtime primary home.

The amended criteria will go into effect beginning with the 2025 awards cycle, which opens in the spring of 2024.

When newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer established The Pulitzer Prizes in 1917, he endowed them with a distinctly American character. In his will, the Hungarian immigrant outlined his plan for annual awards for an “American novel,” an “original American play,” “the best history of the United States,” and “the best American biography.”

Over the decades, the number of awards has grown to eight categories in Books, Drama and Music, and 15 categories in Journalism. Until now, eligibility to enter the Books, Drama and Music categories was limited to U.S. citizens. 

One exception to that requirement was in the History category, which has allowed books on United States history by authors of any nationality. For the sake of consistency, however, History entries now also must conform to the new rules and must be written by U.S. authors.

The Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism have long accepted entries from journalists of any nationality so long as the work was published by media based in the United States. This requirement remains unchanged.

“The Board is enthusiastic about ensuring that the Prizes are inclusive and accessible to those producing distinguished work in Books, Drama and Music. This expansion of eligibility is an appropriate update of our rules and compatible with the goals Joseph Pulitzer had in establishing these awards,” the Board said in a statement from co-chairs Prof. Tommie Shelby and Neil Brown. 

There is no change in the requirement that entries in Books, Drama and Music be originally published in English in the United States.

The new eligibility language for Books, Drama and Music reads as follows:

Authors and musicians are eligible to enter their work if they are U.S. citizens, permanent residents of the United States, or if the United States has been their longtime primary home.

The Pulitzer Prizes, which are administered at Columbia University, were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, who left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912 and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917.

The 18-member board is composed mainly of leading journalists or news executives from media outlets across the U.S., as well as five academics or persons in the arts. The dean of Columbia’s journalism school and the administrator of the prizes are non-voting members. The chair rotates to the most senior member or members. The board is self-perpetuating in the election of members. Voting members may serve three terms of three years for a total of nine years.

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