The 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner：Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
The 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners in 14 journalism and seven letters, drama and music categories were announced on Monday, April 16 at 3 p.m. Eastern.
The 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner for biographer is: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Caroline Fraser (Metropolitan Books)
A deeply researched and elegantly written portrait of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series, that describes how Wilder transformed her family’s story of poverty, failure and struggle into an uplifting tale of self-reliance, familial love and perseverance.
The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the "Little House on the Prairie" books
Millions of readers of "Little House on the Prairie" believe they know Laura Ingalls—the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true saga of her life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser—the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series—masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder’s biography. Revealing the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life, she also chronicles Wilder's tumultuous relationship with her journalist daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books.
The Little House books, for all the hardships they describe, are paeans to the pioneer spirit, portraying it as triumphant against all odds. But Wilder’s real life was harder and grittier than that, a story of relentless struggle, rootlessness, and poverty. It was only in her sixties, after losing nearly everything in the Great Depression, that she turned to children’s books, recasting her hardscrabble childhood as a celebratory vision of homesteading—and achieving fame and fortune in the process, in one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches episodes in American letters.
Spanning nearly a century of epochal change, from the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. With fresh insights and new discoveries, "Prairie Fires" reveals the complex woman whose classic stories grip us to this day.
-- from the publisher
Photo: Hal Espen
Caroline Fraser was born in Seattle and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University in English and American literature. Formerly on the editorial staff of The New Yorker, she is the author of two nonfiction books, "God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church" and "Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution," both published by Henry Holt's Metropolitan Books. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, Outside Magazine, and The London Review of Books, among other publications. She has received a PEN Award for Best Young Writer and was a past recipient of the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writer's Residency, awarded by PEN Northwest. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband, Hal Espen.