Edward P. Jones

[By Kenton Rambsy]

Edward P. Jones is another writer in the “100 Novels Collection” who is more known for his short stories. Surprisingly, his novel, The Known World, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2004. Even still, Jones has expressed favor for using the short story form over the novel form in his writing.
His novel, a neo-slave narrative, explores human bondage from an alternative perspective. Jones allows readers to envision the dark period of legalized human bondage in America from the perspective of a black slave owner. Jones tells the stories of people living in Manchester Country, Virginia in episodic form. His novel reveals how social and political structures impeded upon the good intentions of people and dictate their actions. In other words, Jones’s suggests that despite a person’s intentions to do good, the societal norm can most often influence a person’s train of thought and behavior.

Katherine Bassard writes, “The economics of black slave-owning are perhaps less disturbing than the fact that many black masters held similar attitudes to slavery as their white counterparts.” Bassard’s words help readers to think more critically about how a willingness to integrate into mainstream activities in America causes people to adopt standards and customs that may in fact be troubling and damaging.
Below, I have provided a recap of Jones’s publications as well as his awards and nominations:
Lost in the City (1992)
Awards and Nominations
1992: Nominated National Book Award, Lost in the City
1993: Awarded PEN/Hemingway Award, Lost in the City
1994: Awarded Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, Lost in the City
2003: Nominated National Book Award, The Known World
2003: Awarded National Book Critics Circle Award, The Known World
2004: Awarded Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Known World
2005: Awarded International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, The Known World
2005: Awarded MacArthur Fellowship
2007: Nominated PEN/Faulkner Award, All Aunt Hagar’s Children
2010: Awarded PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of the short story