Mara Hvistendahl's "Unnatural Selection" Finalist for Pulitzer

Posted by Pete Shanks April 26, 2012
Biopolitical Times
The book cover is shown. It pictures four toy soldiers and one toy doll in a pink ballet outfit.

Congratulations to Mara Hvistendahl, whose superb book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men was named as a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

The award, which is given for "a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category," went to Stephen Greenblatt for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, and Unnatural Selection was one of two named runners-up, along with One Hundred Names For Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing, by Diane Ackerman.

CGS had the distinct honor of hosting Mara last June for a discussion of her book and the underlying issues that it helped to publicize. It was widely — and very favorably — reviewed (including by our own Marcy Darnovsky in the Ms Magazine blog) and led to a series of interviews and important discussions. Some conservatives tried to cite the book as a justification for promoting anti-abortion policies, which Hvistendahl confronted directly in an important article in Foreign Policy, called "The Abortion Trap." Her impressively factual, restrained and yet forceful exposé of the international scandal of sex selection is not only a fine piece of research and writing but a compellingly nuanced analysis.   Hvistendahl continues to expose and engage the murky ethical implications of new reproductive technologies, most recently publishing an important piece in Slate on early non-invasive fetal genome testing.  

Unnatural Selection was also cited as one of the best books of the year by The Wall Street Journal, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, Discover and many other publications. Recognition by the Pulitzer Board is only the latest award, and all thoroughly deserved. Congratulations!

Previously on Biopolitical Times: