Jayne Anne Phillips' Night Watch Wins Pulitzer for Fiction

Jayne Anne Phillips' (8x 93-18) Night Watch has won the 2024 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction!

The Pulitzer board hailed the book, the author's newest MacDowell-supported work, as a “beautifully rendered novel set in West Virginia’s Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in the aftermath of the Civil War where a severely wounded Union veteran, a 12-year-old girl and her mother, long abused by a Confederate soldier, struggle to heal.”

Chaired by Wall Street Journal book critic Sam Sacks, the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction jury consisted of authors and MacDowell Fellows Michael Chabon (15x 96-22), Lan Samantha Chang (4x 03-24), Lydia Millet (19), and Tayari Jones (3x 03-16), who had praised the novel before it was published, writing that it “lives where a startling imagination meets scrupulous research: Night Watch is a tour de force."

Indeed, at the close of her spring 2016 residency, Phillips wrote, “My new book requires much research into a time long past. MacDowell's timelessness, the unaltered beauty of the fields and woods, the quiet roads, the deer in the meadows, the fox, the wild turkeys, all so visible from Calderwood Studio... miraculous. I made great progress and began to understand the depth of my project. MacDowell is unique, a dynamic, creative refuge for artists."

After working on the beginning of the book project at MacDowell in 2016, Phillips returned in the summer of 2018 to write in Garland Studio, where she finished two sections of the novel.

As 2024 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, the jury named Ed Park’s Same Bed Different Dreams and Yiyun Li’s Wednesday’s Child.

Poet Robyn Schiff’s (21) Information Desk: An Epic is a 2024 finalist for Poetry, while Paper Pianos, an evening-length multimedia work composed by Mary Kouyoumdjian with staging and text by librettist Nigel Maister (19) is a finalist for Music. Both Robyn and Nigel’s works were supported by their MacDowell Fellowships.

In 2023, author Hernan Diaz’s (19) MacDowell-supported novel, Trust, won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Read about other new works supported by MacDowell Fellowships.

Search for the #MadeAtMacDowell tag on social media to see a history of MacDowell-supported works.

The cover of Jayne Anne Phillips's 2023 novel "Night Watch" is paired side-by-side to a portrait of the author, who looks into the camera with her hands lightly clasped.

The cover of the 2024 Pulitzer Prize-winning Night Watch (left) and author and MacDowell Fellow Jayne Anne Phillips (photo by Elena Seibert).