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Shanley, Robinson win arts Pulitzers

Winning play focuses on church molestation
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Doubt,” the first Broadway play by Oscar-winning writer John Patrick Shanley, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for drama Monday.

Shanley’s play opened on Broadway just last week to critical acclaim after an off-Broadway run. It tells the story of a confrontation between a nun and a Roman Catholic priest at a Bronx parish; she suspects the priest of molesting a male student.

Shanley, who has written a number of successful off-Broadway plays, captured the Academy Award for best screenplay for “Moonstruck” in 1988.

The Pulitzer for fiction went to Marilynne Robinson for “Gilead,” her poetic, modern-day tale of a dying Iowa preacher. Her first novel, “Housekeeping,” appeared in 1980 and was nominated for a Pulitzer.

“It’s such a private thing to write a book, and when I’m writing I can’t think about whether it will appeal to other people,” said Robinson, a teacher at the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop. “But it’s such a profound treat that people do find it meaningful.”

David Hackett Fischer, a professor at Brandeis University, won the prize for history for his “Washington’s Crossing.” His previous books include “Paul Revere’s Ride.”

Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan won in the biography category for “de Kooning: An American Master.” Their sweeping biography of the artist was 10 years in the making, following de Kooning from his work as an abstract expressionist through his battles with alcoholism and Alzheimer’s.

Stevens is currently the art critic for New York magazine, while Swan is a veteran magazine writer who has worked for Time and Newsweek.

National poet laureate Ted Kooser has won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for “Delights & Shadows.” Kooser, who lives in Garland, Neb., is a retired insurance executive who was named to his current position last August.

He has written 10 collections of poetry, and his work has appeared in a number of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Hudson Review and Prairie Schooner.

Steve Coll collected his second Pulitzer, winning in general non-fiction for “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.”

In 1990, while serving as South Asia bureau chief for The Washington Post, he captured a Pulitzer for explanatory journalism. The author of four books, he is now an associate editor at the Post.

And Steven Stucky won the music award for “Second Concerto for Orchestra.” His winning piece debuted last March, performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.