NEW YORK – Joshua Cohen’s Netanyahu, a comic and austere campus novel based on the true story of the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is looking for a job in academia, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Benzion Netanyahu, who died in 2012, was a medieval historian and ultranationalist who taught at several American schools, including the University of Denver and Cornell University. Netanyahu unfolds around 1959-60 and is the focus of a Jewish historian at a Cornell-based university who is being asked to help decide whether to hire a visiting Israeli scholar. The novel, subtitled A Tale of an Insignificant and Ultimately Even Insignificant Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family, was praised for its combination of wit and intellectual debate about Zionism and Jewish identity.

“It’s a crazy, frustrating, pretentious work – as well as an exciting, wonderful, fun, exciting and the best and most relevant novel I’ve read in what seems like forever,” wrote Teffi Brodeser-Akner of The New York Times. last June.


Many of Monday’s winners of the arts were studies of race and class, past and present. Winners in several journalistic nominations were also announced.

“James the Fat Ham”, a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, which takes place on a barbecue of the Black family in the modern south, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Raven Chakan, the first Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, was honored in the music category for “Silent Mass.”

The late artist Winfred Rambert won in his biography for the film “The Pursuit of Me to the Grave: Memories of the Artist of the South by Jim Crow,” as narrated by Erin I. Kelly. Rambert, who survived years in prison and nearly lynching in rural Georgia in the 1960s, died last year at the age of 75.

In an interview Monday, Kelly spoke about the book’s long and unexpected story. She is a professor of philosophy at Tufts University and came across his work a few years ago when she was working on another project on criminal justice. She contacted Rambert, who lived in New Haven, Connecticut, and found him so attractive that she wanted to make sure his life was properly documented.


“He was both charismatic and down-to-earth,” she said. “He had an incredible command of the language and an incredible visual memory.”

Rambert was in poor health and died before the publication of “The Pursuit of Me to the Grave”, although he managed to see the edited manuscript.

“We both felt a great need to make a book,” Kelly said.

Andrea Elliott’s film The Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in the American City, based on her New York Times series of investigations about a homeless black girl from Brooklyn, won the Pulitzer Prize for national journalism. Eliot’s book has already won the Gotham Prize for outstanding work on New York.

On Monday, two awards were presented in history: Nicole Eustace’s “Covered at Night: The History of Indigenous Homicide and Justice in Early America” and Ada Ferrer’s “Cuba: American History,” which traces centuries of relations between the United States and its southern neighbor. .


Diana Seuss won in poetry for “Openness: Sonnets. Her collection, a finalist for the National Circle of Critics Award, draws in part on her roots in rural Michigan and contains her harsh and lyrical reflections on gender, class, and drug abuse, among other subjects.

“My father died very young. Mom raised me and my sister. I came to poetry young only by instinct, ”Seuss said Monday, also referring to various influences from Frank O’Hara to Amy Winehouse. “I consider” open: sonnets “to work together – with the living and the dead.”

Chakan created the “Silent Mass” specifically for the organ at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Milwaukee, where it premiered in November 2021. Chakon is a composer, performer and installer from the Navajo nation. His artwork, now on display at the Whitney Biennale, is inspired by protesters at Oceti Sakowin near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.


“This was my first time writing for a church organ, and I wanted to make a statement about the space in which this organ is located,” said Chacon, who is Dean, which in Navajo means “people.” “I wanted to think about the role of the church in shaping the country, especially when it comes to indigenous people.”

His 2020 opera “Sweet Land,” co-produced with Du Yun, was staged in the open air at Los Angeles State Historical Park and received criticism for revising a story about American history using different stories simultaneously. The opera was named the best opera by the Association of Music Critics of North America in 2021.

Chakon has since 2004 taught hundreds of indigenous high school composers in writing string quartets as part of a project to train Indian composers.

Chacon told the Associated Press in an interview after learning of Pulitzer’s victory that he wanted his work to be a reminder that indigenous peoples are involved in chamber and classical music.


“I am happy that this work has been heard. I think that chamber music in general is not something that can always be available to a wide audience, ”Chakon said. “Everyone has the opportunity to listen to chamber music, and I’m happy to be able to contribute to it.”

Navajo President Jonathan Nez congratulated Chacon, saying the artist shows the Navajo’s enormous potential.

“His award demonstrates the talent, innovation and creativity of the indigenous people and shows our youth that everything is possible through hard work and prayer,” Nez said in a statement to the AP.

Chacon graduated from the University of New Mexico and the California Institute of the Arts, and in 2022 plans to begin a residency at the Pew Arts and Heritage Center in Philadelphia.

His solo works have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American Art and the National Museum of the American Indian and many others.


Among the finalists of the drama were “Selling Kabul” by Sylvia Huri and “Christina Wong, Lord of Fun” by Christina Wong.

The Drama Award, which includes a $ 15,000 award, is intended “for an outstanding play by an American author, preferably original in its source and relating to American life.” Iames is a playwright from Philadelphia and co-artistic director of the Wilma Theater, whose production of “Fat Ham” was broadcast last summer.


AP Entertainment authors Christine M. Hall and Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.

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