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Pulitzer win brings excitement, laughter and tears

Winner’s father, who lives in Edmond, recalls emotional scene as family learned of the victory.
by Ken Raymond Published: April 20, 2014

Dan Fagin’s account of what happened Monday is typical of a writer. Talking on the phone about it the next day, he downplayed his excitement at winning the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, wryly stating that he and his wife figured news of his award couldn't possibly be accurate. His version limits his wife to a single shout. He himself utters none.

His father, longtime Oklahoma attorney Arnold Fagin, remembers it all a bit differently.

“Yesterday afternoon, mid-afternoon, I think, my legal assistant, who answers my phone, works with me and has for years, told me that my son was on the phone,” the elder Fagin said Tuesday. “I thought it was a bit unusual that he was calling my office during the middle of my working day. We talk on the phone on evenings and weekends. I got worried about accident, injuries or illness.

“When I put the phone up to my head, my son said, ‘DAD DAD DAD!’ He was so excited I could barely understand him. And then he yelled, ‘I WON THE PULITZER I WON THE PULITZER!’ My office assistant could probably hear some of this and must’ve been wondering what was going on.

“This call must’ve been within three minutes of him finding out. While he's yelling it to me, his wife Alison, a wonderful and successful woman in her own right, was screaming, ‘DAN YOU WON THE PULITZER YOU WON THE PULITZER!’ We were all laughing, crying and happy.”

Arnold Fagin told his son that he was proud. So was his wife of 30 years, Mari Fagin. And, he said, the author's mother, Lois Roisman, would've been incredibly happy for him if she were still alive.

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by Ken Raymond
Book Editor
Ken Raymond is the book editor. He joined The Oklahoman in 1999. He has won dozens of state, regional and national writing awards. Three times he has been named the state's "overall best" writer by the Society of Professional Journalists. In...
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