A Portland native and Bates College alum, Elizabeth Strout, has won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her novel in stories, Olive Kitteridge (which we're proud to say we gave notice to before many other publications), takes place largely in a coastal town in Maine. It tells the stories of a strong-willed woman and the people who surround her. Strout is the second author with Maine ties in a decade to take home the Pulitzer for Fiction. Richard Russo's Empire Falls won in 2002. There must be something in the water.