Winners of the 2009 Pulitzer Prizes will be announced on Monday, with book prizes awarded in the categories of Fiction, History, Biography or Autobiography and General Nonfiction.lazarus Being reasonably good at handicapping horse races, we can't resist the endlessly fascinating (and time-wasting) activity of trying to pick the winners, particularly in the fiction category. After studying the helpful prediction list at PPrize.com, we'll go with The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon to win, Indignation by Philip Roth to place and Lush Life by Richard Price to show. (Yes, we realize that the Pulitzer does not announce first, second and third place winners—just a winner and a couple of finalists—but we're pretending this is a horse race.) Though Marilynne Robinson's Home is first on the PPrize prediction list, we think she's unlikely to be selected again so soon after Gilead (the 2005 winner). And though we admire John Updike, and can imagine that the jury would like to honor him so soon after his death, The Widows of Eastwick seems an unlikely choice. The prize description states only that the award is given "for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life." Hemon's brilliant story of a Bosnian immigrant in Chicago, obsessed with the murder of another immigrant a century earlier, would clearly fit the bill. A new paperback edition of The Lazarus Project is being released on May 5 and it's one of the Book Club recommendations in the next issue of BookPage. Stay tuned.

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