Pulitzer Prize Winners

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Among the 2011 Pulitzer Prize winners are writers Jennifer Eagan, Eric Foner, Ron Chernow, and Siddhartha Mukherjee, who were all guests on the Leonard Lopate Show last year. You can listen to their conversations with Leonard below.

Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her inventive novel A Visit from the Goon Squad. She spoke with Leonard about writing with Power Point, spanning the past and the future in the story, and writing separate but connected stories in each chapter. She told Leonard: "I think the digression was really the organizing principle of this book, actually, which again, I think, would have been quite hard in a traditional novel. I love the idea of it being polyphonic, and having characters be both central and peripheral at the same time at different moments." Listen to the interview here.

Eric Foner won the Pulitzer Prize for history for The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. He spoke with Leonard about Lincoln's skill at writing. "During the Civil War, Lincoln's language shifts from 'union' to 'nation,' which is an indication of what is happening as a result of the Civil War. A union is a collection of individual entities, a nation is a unified, single thing," Foner said. "This notion of a unitary nation really is created in the Civil War in some ways, it didn't exist before it." Listen to the interview here.

Ron Chernow won the Pulitzer Prize for biography for Washington: A Life. He spoke with Leonard about how the myth of George Washington has overshadowed the real man. Washington was a larger-than-life figure, but Chernow verified that, based on letters Washington wrote to his tailor, he was just 6 feet tall, not 6-foot-3 or more, as many believe. Listen to the interview here.

Siddhartha Mukherjee won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for his comprehensive The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. He spoke to Leonard about how cancer is able to imitate normal body processes, which is one reason the disease was so hard to understand until the age of modern medicine. The word cancer comes from Hippocrates, who imagined tumors as crabs buried under the skin. "It’s a reminder how much of the disease is still buried under metaphor,” Mikherjee explained. Listen to that interview here.

Find the full list of this year’s winners here: www.pulitzer.org