This year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, Tinkers by Paul Harding, was a bit of a surprise. The book had gotten excellent reviews (though it wasn’t reviewed by The New York Times) and was pushed by independent book sellers. But it was far from a slam dunk for a prestigious literary prize.
Even more surprising is the publisher, Bellevue Literary Press, where Erika Goldman ’81 is editorial director. This is the first small publisher to release a Pulitzer fiction winner since Louisiana State University Press published A Confederacy of Dunces. Bellevue Literary Press is part of New York University’s School of Medicine and specializes in works that explore the convergence of science and the arts, with a publishing schedule of eight books per year, or four a season, three being non-fiction and one a novel. The full-time staff consists of Goldman, a veteran editor who previously worked at Scribner and Simon & Schuster, and an assistant.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “a Pulitzer was not something Goldman campaigned for or expected, and she’s still digesting what the award will do for Bellevue. ‘I hope it means when we publish book, people will take a closer look,’ she said. ‘It’s great to get this recognition but we’re still modest in our means. We’re not going to be playing high stakes with the big guys.’ “