The National Constitution Center, Philadelphia.

Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative

The Pulitzer Prizes turned 100 in 2016! We celebrated by launching a 100 Years of Pulitzer website and producing public events to explore Michael Chabon's fiction,  August Wilson's plays, and the vital role of journalism in a strong democracy. Read below for details.


Explore the rich and varied lives and works of the Keystone State's Pulitzer Prize winners with the website 100 Years of Pulitzer Prizes: The Pennsylvania Connection, launched by PHC in partnership with Philadelphia Media Network—owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and

Photo by: Peter Serling

Julia Wolfe to be Honored in Penn State's Center for the Performing Arts Presentation

We are excited to continue the celebration of the Pulitzer Centennial this spring. On March 30 MacArthur Fellow Julia Wolfe will be at Penn State's University Park campus in conjunction with the Center for the Performing Arts' presentation of her Pulitzer Prize-winning composition Anthracite Fields.  Bang On A Can All-Stars and Penn State Concert Choir will perform Anthracite Fields, with Christopher Kiver conducting.

"One thing that is really important to me was to honor that life. It's not like nobody knows the history but it's not necessarily mainstream history. I really wanted to leave it open for people to think. I didn't want to hammer them over the head and say, "Listen to this. This is a big political issue." It really was, "Here's what happened. Here's this life and who are we in relationship to that?"" -Julia Wolfe on her musical composition Anthracite Fields.

Learn more and purchase tickets here.


As pictured from left to right: Pennsylvania Humanities Council's executive director Laurie Zierer, Barbara Laker, Bill Marimow, Sue Snyder, Jim Steele, Tom Gralish

Ground ∣ Breaking News: A Celebration of the Pulitzer Prize Centennial

In partnership with Philadelphia Media Network, PHC presented a panel discussion to explore why journalism is vital to a strong democracy at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The panel featured Philadelphia Inquirer editor William Marimow and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists: Tom Gralish (Feature Photography), Barbara Laker (Investigative Reporting), Sue Snyder (Public Service), and Jim Steele (National Reporting).

Conversation centered on how the humanities, including journalism, inspire us to think critically, become informed citizens, and build a better world for the next generation. In opening remarks, PHC executive director Laurie Zierer said, "With the knowledge and wisdom gained from great journalism and the humanities—we can make strong decisions and work together to make a difference in our lives and in our communities."


August Wilson and Pittsburgh: Birthright and Burden

In partnership with the Humanities Center and Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh, PHC held an event at Pitt's Frick Fine Arts Auditorium to celebrate two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson. The conversation on Wilson's life and work was moderated by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette senior theater critic Christopher Rawson and columnist Tony Norman.

Panelists included:

  • Eugene Lee, a playwright and actor who has played Wilson on stage in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Boston and on Broadway.
  • Laurence Glasco, Department of History, University of Pittsburgh, who is writing the first serious biography of Wilson.
  • Vanessa German, an actress and artist who has performed in Wilson’s plays.


PHOTO BY Aimee Colabine Beattie.

Michael Chabon In Conversation

On December 9 Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon spoke with Dan Kubis, assistant director of the University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center and host of Pitt’s “Being Human” podcast, in front of a live audience at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh. Chabon also read excerpts from his most recent novel, Moonglow, and signed copies.

Chabon graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1984 with a B.A. in English literature. Shortly after, his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, was released (1988) and became a New York Times bestseller. Chabon also authored Wonder Boys, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Telegraph Avenue and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001.


Presented by the Humanities Center at the University of Pittsburgh, the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, the Year of Humanities in the University, the University of Pittsburgh Department of English and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council as part of the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative.


About the Centennial Campfires Initiative 

The Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative is a joint venture of the Pulitzer Prizes Board and the Federation of State Humanities Councils in celebration of the 2016 centennial of the Prizes. 

The initiative seeks to illuminate the impact of journalism and the humanities on American life today, to imagine their future and to inspire new generations to consider the values represented by the body of Pulitzer Prize-winning work.


For their generous support for the Campfires Initiative, we thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Pulitzer Prizes Board, and Columbia University.



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