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Chabon wins Pulitzer for 'Kavalier & Clay'

Michael Chabon won the prize for fiction for "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," a novel about World War II America and the golden age of comic books  

(CNN) -- Michael Chabon won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction on Monday for his 2000 novel, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" (Random House).

It is the first Pulitzer for Chabon, whose book brings to life World War II America and the golden age of comic books.

"Did I really win?" Chabon, a runner-up in the 2000 National Book Critics Circle and PEN/Faulkner Awards, asked The Associated Press Monday. "I had kind of figured it was not my year. My goodness, this is exciting."

Chabon, whose book "Wonder Boys" was turned into an Oscar- nominated film released last year, told CNN that he has long been a fan of comic books, and from that grew the story of two friends who create a superhero called the Escapist.

"I had a box of comic books left over from my childhood collection," he said in an interview last September. "It was taped shut and it just went with me from place to place. After 'Wonder Boys,' I untaped it and the smell of old comic books wafted out. It just triggered something."

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2001 Pulitzer Prize winners

That something helped Chabon become the 75th author to claim the fiction prize as the Pulitzer Board at Columbia University announced its annual winners in 21 categories on Monday.

Other Pulitzers awarded to arts and letters:

The biography Pulitzer went to David Levering Lewis for the second volume of his nonfiction work on civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois, "W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and The American Century, 1919-1963" (Henry Holt & Company, Inc.).

His prize marked the first time that the second volume of a previous Pulitzer winner also won the award. Lewis's first volume on Du Bois, covering his life from 1868-1919, won in 1994.

"Thank goodness I'm sitting down," Lewis told AP. "This is a total surprise. I had been working on a speech I was going to give at Harvard, but I think I'm going to set that aside and stand on my balcony for a while."

Stephen Dunn won the Pulitzer for poetry for his volume of original verses, "Different Hours" (W.W. Norton & Company).

David Levering Lewis' win for the second volume of his biography of W.E.B. DuBois marks the first time that the second volume of a previous Pulitzer winner also won the award  

The Pulitzer for drama went to David Auburn for his play "Proof," a family drama about a young woman haunted by the mental collapse of her father.

The Pulitzer for history went to Joseph J. Ellis for his book, "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation" (Knopf).

The Pulitzer for general nonfiction was awarded to Herbert P. Bix for "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan" (HarperCollins).

The music prize was given to John Corigliano for "Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra."

Along with the prize and acclaim, winners receive $7,500.

The awards, named after Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of New York World who died in 1911, have been handed out since 1917.

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Pulitzer Prizes

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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