The new dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Allan M. Brandt, received further accolades for his new book on Monday when he was named a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.
The science historian’s work, “The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America,” has already received the Bancroft Prize, the most prestigious award in historical writing.
Brandt said in an e-mailed statement that the awards are “especially gratifying” given the difficulty of the project and the years he spent researching.
“The issues associated with smoking and its impact on health are especially important for public health and policy,” he said. “So I am hopeful that the history of the cigarette, as chronicled in my book, may inform ongoing approaches to reducing the burden of disease.”
Brandt joins a slew of Harvard graduates and former affiliates who received top honors this year from the Pulitzer Board.
Mark Feeney ’79 started his professional journalism career as a library assistant at the Boston Globe—
“filing photographs for eight hours a day for eight months.”
He has written a wide range of arts stories while serving as book editor and eventually running the Globe’s Sunday “Focus” section. “Concentrating in Hist and Lit prepares you to write about anything,” he said of his undergraduate studies at Harvard.
Feeny’s Pulitzer Prize for arts criticism crowns a career that has veered more recently into writing about photography and film.
Comparing the cache that comes with the Pulitzer—the nation’s most prominent award for journalism and letters—to the gravitas associated with the Harvard brand name, Feeney said that he is “both deeply grateful and very humbled” by the award.
“It really gives a certain imprimatur within the profession,” he said. “It’s something that means a lot to the paper.”
For Feeney, the award gives a measure of validation to his work, but the former member of The Advocate, Harvard’s oldest literary publication, said he doesn’t expect it to change his future writing.
“I’m just as smart or dumb as I was on Sunday,” Feeney said. “But there’s now this thing attached to me, and fortunately it’s a happy thing.”
Other Harvard affiliates who were awarded the highest journalistic honor include Kennedy School graduate Barton Gellman for his investigation of Vice President Dick Cheney’s powerful influence on policy, as well as two former fellows at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation: Anne Hull for public service reporting and Gene Weingarten for feature writing. [SEE CORRECTION BELOW]
The Washington Post carried the day with six Pulitzers.
A special Pulitzer also went to Bob Dylan for his profound impact on popular music and American culture.
—Staff writer Nathan C. Strauss can be reached at email@example.com.
The April 9 news article, "GSAS Dean Named Pulitzer Finalist," described Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman as a graduate of the Kennedy School. Gellman did not attend the school as a degree candidate. He participated in a three-week national and international security program in 1993.