The book carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart. Johnson teaches creative writing at Stanford University.
He spent time in North Korea to research his book. Other books in contention were, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander and The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey.
Other awardees are as following:
• Sharon Old’s Stag’s Leap won the poetry award.
• Tom Reiss’ biography of French aristocrat Alex Dumas, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, won the Pulitzer Prize for biography.
• The prize for general non-fiction was given to Gilbert King for Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America, which details racial injustice in Florida in 1949.
• Caroline Shaw, 30-year-old violinist and vocalist, won the Pulitzer Prize for music.