Indiana University Creative Writing Program
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“The Big Smoke” short-listed for Pulitzer


Adrian Matejka’s The Big Smoke earned yet another significant accolade last week, when it was announced as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, one of America’s foremost literary awards. A distinguished three-person panel (this year’s panel consisted of a poet, an editor, and a critic) select, each year, three books of poetry, from whom the 18-person Pulitzer Board selects one as the annual award recipient; to have emerged as one of only three finalists from the hundreds of nominated books is a tremendous honor. You can read an interview about the process with one of this year’s selectors here.

In a recent interview, Adrian said of the recent honors garnered by The Big Smoke: “These recognitions are wonderful affirmations for ‘The Big Smoke’ and Jack Johnson’s story . . . in many ways, each of those accolades points back to Johnson, as it should, since I wrote the book trying to bring his story into the contemporary dialogue of race and politics. It’s humbling and extraordinary at the same time.” Read the full interview here.

There are times for humility and times for justifiable pride; this is one of the latter times, and all of us at Indiana offer our heartfelt congratulations to Adrian for his achievement.