The Pulitzer Prize is considered one of the most prestigious awards in American arts and journalism, and four women over the age over 40 were individually recognized when the 2011 awards were announced Monday. “Each in her own distinctive way has demonstrated remarkable talent,” said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. “We’re proud to include them among our winners.”

Photo: Adam Krause

Jennifer Egan, 48, won the fiction prize for her novel A Visit from the Goon Squad, which was described by the Pulitzer board as “an inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed.”

Ms. Egan, who is also a journalist, has published short stories in such magazines as The New Yorker, Harpers, Granta and McSweeney’s. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, was published in 1995 and was released as a movie in 2001. Her second novel, Look at Me, was a National Book Award Finalist in 2001, and her third, The Keep, was a national bestseller.

Born in Chicago, she was raised in San Francisco and studied at the University of Pennsylvania and St. John’s College, Cambridge, in England.

Amy Ellis Nutt, 55, a reporter for the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., won the prize for feature writing “for her deeply probing story of the mysterious sinking of a commercial fishing boat in the Atlantic Ocean that drowned six men,” the board said. 

Ms. Nutt has been on the staff of the Star-Ledger since 1997, writing on a variety of topics. In 2009, she was a Pulitzer finalist for a series she wrote about a stroke victim who became an artist. Her book about the artist, Shadows Bright as Glass, was published this month.

Before working at the Star-Ledger, she was on the staff of Sports Illustrated. A graduate of Smith College, Ms. Nutt holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she is a part-time adjunct professor.

We at WVFC have long been great fans of  Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, 65, who gifted us last year by filling our spring with her poems.  

The Pulitzer, awarded for Ms. Ryan’ s The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (Grove Press),  fills out a year when the same book was a finalist for the Book Critics Circle Award and Ms. Ryan was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Ms. Ryan was born in California, growing up in the San Joaquin Valley and the Mohave Desert. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA.

The Pulitzer board called Ms. Ryan’s poetry collection “witty, rebellious and yet tender, a treasure trove of an iconoclastic and joyful mind.”


Photo: Stamford Advocate.com

Paige St. John, 50, a reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida, won the prize for investigative reporting “for her examination of weaknesses in the murky property-insurance system vital to Florida homeowners, providing handy data to assess insurer reliability and stirring regulatory action,” the board said.

Ms. St. John joined the staff of the Herald-Tribune in 2008. Previously, she had worked for Gannett News Service, the Detroit News and the Associated Press.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, which was once the nation’s smallest accredited journalism program.

Congratulations to all the winners. We can’t wait to share more of their achievements in the years to come.