Sure, there's a possibility that when the Pulitzer Prize board failed to announce a fiction winner, the reason could have been a simple deadlock. But most who heard the news probably didn't assume that, and instead figured "it was a bum year for fiction," writes author Ann Patchett, who penned one of the eligible books this time around. While "it's fine to lose to someone," it's "galling to lose to no one," she writes in the New York Times. And while the whole incident is sad for authors, it's even worse for readers—and possibly worst of all for the book industry.
Brick-and-mortar bookstores are struggling, as is the publishing industry as a whole—"especially since the Department of Justice has decided to be Amazon's bodyguard," Patchett notes. "I can’t imagine there was ever a year we were so in need of the excitement [the prize] creates in readers," she writes. Pulitzer winners are buzzed about—and since "the world of literature lacks the scandal, hype, and pretty dresses that draw people to the Academy Awards," that buzz is necessary to get people talking about books. Click for Patchett's full column, including thoughts on which books could have won. (Read more Pulitzer Prize stories.)