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Pulitzer officials expand eligibility in arts categories; some non-U.S. citizens can now compete

Sep 12, 2023, 10:31 AM

FILE - Signage for The Pulitzer Prizes appear at Columbia University on May 28, 2019, in New York. ...

FILE - Signage for The Pulitzer Prizes appear at Columbia University on May 28, 2019, in New York. The Pulitzer Prize Board has revised its longtime rules on eligibility for many of its arts awards, and will now allow those not born in the U.S. and other non-citizens to compete. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Pulitzer Prize Board has revised its longtime rules on eligibility for many of its arts awards and will now allow those not born in the U.S. and other non-citizens to compete.

The board announced Tuesday that permanent residents and those who have made the U.S. their longtime primary home will be eligible in the categories for books, drama and music. The changes go into effect for the 2025 awards cycle, which begins next spring.

“The Board is enthusiastic about ensuring that the Prizes are inclusive and accessible to those producing distinguished work in Books, Drama and Music,” board-co-chairs Prof. Tommie Shelby and Neil Brown said in a statement. “This expansion of eligibility is an appropriate update of our rules and compatible with the goals Joseph Pulitzer had in establishing these awards.”

Last August, hundreds of writers endorsed an open letter calling for the Pulitzer board to permit non-U.S. citizens to compete. Signers included Sandra Cisneros, Brit Bennett, Dave Eggers and Pulitzer winners Andrew Sean Greer and Diane Seuss.

Joseph Pulitzer founded the prizes in 1917 with a mission to honor “American” journalism and literature. Journalism prize judges already accept nominees of other nationalities, as long as the work was published in the U.S., a requirement which also applies to the arts categories.

The new rules actually tighten eligibility for the history award, which previously could be written by authors of any nationality. “For the sake of consistency,” the board decided, history will now have the same guidelines as those for books, dramas and music.

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Pulitzer officials expand eligibility in arts categories; some non-U.S. citizens can now compete