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Hank Williams among 2010 Pulitzer winners

By the CNN Wire Staff
The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a posthumous special award to Hank Williams, who died in 1953 at 29.
The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a posthumous special award to Hank Williams, who died in 1953 at 29.
  • Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a posthumous special award to Hank Williams
  • Administrator: "Award highlights the board's desire to broaden its Music Prize"
  • In journalism, New York Times wins four awards and Washington Post also wins four
  • Paul Harding's "Tinkers" wins award in fiction category

(CNN) -- The late country music icon Hank Williams was among the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winners announced Monday.

The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a posthumous special award to Williams, who died in 1953 at 29, for his lifetime achievement as a musician, praising the country legend for "his craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life."

The board, chaired by Miami Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal, decided on the "special citation" after a confidential survey of experts in popular music.

"The citation, above all, recognizes the lasting impact of Williams as a creative force that influenced a wide range of other musicians and performers," said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, in a statement. "At the same time, the award highlights the board's desire to broaden its Music Prize and recognize the full range of musical excellence that might not have been considered in the past."

Only a few other musicians have earned special citations in music in recent years: jazz composers Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane each received one in 2006 and 2007, respectively, and Bob Dylan captured one in 2008.

Williams set the country music standard with his music, including songs such as, "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Cold Cold Heart," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Jambalaya."

In the reporting categories, which make up the bulk of the Pulitzer awards, The Washington Post racked up four awards in a wide range of categories -- feature writing, commentary, criticism and international reporting. The latter was awarded for journalist Anthony Shadid's series on Iraq as the United States started the troop withdrawal, leaving local leaders to "struggle to deal with the legacy of war and to shape the nation's future."

The New York Times won the award for explanatory reporting for a detailed account of contaminated beef and other food safety issues, pointing out defects in defects in federal regulations. The Times also won the national reporting category for stories on the hazardous use of cell phones and other devices while driving.

The highly coveted Pulitzer for investigative reporting was awarded to Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman of the Philadelphia Daily News and Sheri Fink, a reporter for the nonprofit, ProPublica investigative Web site, for their 13,000-word story, "The Deadly Choices at Memorial," which chronicled how some New Orleans doctors made urgent life-and-death decisions after being cut off by Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters. The story was published in collaboration with the New York Times Magazine.

The win by the 2-year-old Web site marked a significant moment for the Pulitzer board, which has traditionally awarded such honors to newspapers and wire services.

Other journalism categories were won by the Bristol (Virginia) Herald Courier for public service reporting; The Seattle Times for breaking news reporting; The Dallas Morning News for editorial writing; syndicated cartoonist Mark Fiore for editorial cartooning; The Des Moines Register for breaking news photography; and The Denver Post for feature photography.

Fiore's animated cartoons appeared on, the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, had "biting wit" and reflected extensive research as well as his ability to "distill complex issues," the board said.

In the arts, Paul Harding's "Tinkers" was awarded in the fiction category; "Next to Normal" won in drama; Liaquat Ahamed's "Lord of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World" won in history; T.J. Stiles' "The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt" won in biography; Rae Armantrout's "Versed" won in poetry; and David E. Hoffman's "Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy" won for general nonfiction.