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Boise's Anthony Doerr Wins Pulitzer Prize For Fiction

Isabelle Selby

Boise writer Anthony Doerr has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the most prestigious award given exclusively to American authors.

Doerr’s novel All the Light We Cannot See tells the story of two children growing up before and during World War II in Europe. The story is about Marie, a blind French girl, and a German orphan named Werner. For most of the book their lives are separate, until Werner hears Marie’s voice in the darkness as the war destroys the city around them.

When the book came out last May, Doerr told KBSX he worked on the novel for 10 years.

“It’s about people trying to be good to each other under extremely difficult circumstances,” Doerr says. “And it’s about a fabled diamond that’s carried out of the National History Museum in Paris in 1940. And it’s about brainwashing little boys to do a nation’s deeds. And it’s about love and family and heartbreak and snails and radio.”

We spoke to Doerr last November just before the National Book Awards were announced. He was a finalist but did not win. He said awards do matter.

“You get the gold seal on your book and you’re kind of automatically entered into the canon,” Doerr said. “That stuff is important but it doesn’t help you create your next book or anything. But it guarantees your work will probably have more readers. I do think it guarantees your artistic freedom in some ways, in that, no matter what you want to try for your next two or three books, there’s no way a publisher would refuse it.”

Radio plays a central role in the book. The title refers in part to radio signals that constantly surround us without our knowledge.

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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