"I'm deeply honored and totally flabbergasted to receive this recognition," said Norris, who was staying on an island off the coast of Maine when he learned of the win. He thanked the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago for 10 years of support.
The Pulitzer for history was awarded to "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" by Eric Foner, a Columbia University professor who has won multiple honors for a career focused on the Lincoln era and Reconstruction. Foner, 68, called the latest prize a capstone for his career.
"The Pulitzer has a kind of broader importance and stature suggesting that your book is appreciated by a wider audience, a non-scholarly audience," Foner said in a telephone interview from London, where he is teaching this semester.
He said it can be intimidating approaching a book on Lincoln, who has been written about so much before. But he said many Lincoln books either try to put the Civil War president on a pedestal or tear him down, and he was trying to get a balanced view on a specific topic seen through the lens of that period in history.