Wright and Chandrasekaran Divvy Up Prizes


By Neal Comment

It’s not enough that Lawrence Wright has picked up both the Pulitzer and the Los Angeles Times history prize for The Looming Tower in recent weeks—Tuesday night his book about the rise of al-Qaeda earned him the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award, presented annually for “excellence in journalism.” One of the reporters he beat out for the prize was Rajiv Chandrasekaran, with whom he’d previously jostled on last fall’s National Book Award shortlist—but don’t worry about Chandrasekaran; the Washington Post reporter scored a major journalism prize of his own last month, when the Ridenhour Book Prize went to Imperial Life in the Emerald City, Chandrasekaran’s absolutely devastating account of the ineptitude of America’s bungling of the “coalition provisional authority” in Iraq. (And I swear somebody passed me a note earlier this week about him getting another prize in D.C. on Monday, but I can’t for the life of me find anything about it online, and I deleted the original email. Tell me I’m not imagining things…)