Oh, you didn’t know? Neither did Harding, who found out only by looking on the Pulitzer website. I learned the story from the April 15 Boston Globe article, A tide of affection for prose that nearly went unpublished. Read the whole article; it’s short and it’s inspiring.
Harding, like many great and not-so-great writers, had a stockpile of rejection letters before a small, nonprofit publisher – attached to NYU’s medical school – picked up his manuscript and published it.
According to the Globe article:
“The author’s unlikely success story is rooted in a series of personal interactions between publishers, booksellers, and reviewers that launched a book the old-fashioned way. There were no media campaigns, Twitter feeds, or 30-city tours. Instead, the success of Tinkers can be linked to a handful of people who were so moved by the richly lyrical story of an old man facing his final days that they had to tell others about it.”
I love stories like Harding’s, where karma and talent converge. (It’s even sweeter that he’s a fellow UMass alum!)
A final quote from the Boston Globe article:
“I just keep thinking of Keith Richards, wearing that ‘Who the [expletive] is Mick Jagger’ T-shirt. That’s the story line. What the hell? Where did this come from? This weird end run from noble obscurity to a Pulitzer.’’
Congratulations, Paul Harding. I’m heading out to get your book now. Tweet or no tweet.