Coleson Whitehead’s “Nickel Boy” Wins Pulitzer Prize

Coleson Whitehead’s “Nickel Boy” Wins Pulitzer Prize

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This photo released by Doubleday shows a portrait of the writer Coleson Whitehead, the Pulitzer Prize winner for novels and the author of Nickel Boy. (Madeline Whitehead/Sojitz via The Associated Press)

1 out of 15

This photo released by Doubleday shows a portrait of the writer Coleson Whitehead, the Pulitzer Prize winner for novels and the author of Nickel Boy. (Madeline Whitehead/Sojitz via The Associated Press)

New York (Associated Press)-Colson Whitehead became the rare writer to win the Pulitzer Prize in a row, when his novel “The Nickel Boys” won a novel award on Monday. His novel at the time tells the story of the cruel Florida Reform School in the era of Jim Crow. Three years ago, he won the award for his novel “The Underground Railway” during the Civil War.

Pulitzer judges praised the “Nickel Boy” as “a backup and devastating exploration of abuse” and “ultimately a powerful story of human perseverance, dignity and redemption.” Whitehead, 50, is known for his experimental narrative and immersive experience of American history and folklore. His previous works include “John Henry Days” and “Intuitionist”.

In a statement issued through his publisher Doubleday, Whitehead said that the news of his victory on Monday was “very crazy!”

“Obviously, I feel very honored, and I hope it can raise people’s awareness of the real life model of the novel-Dozier Boys’ School-so that the victims and their stories will not be forgotten,” he said.

William Faulkner and John Updike are among the fiction writers who have won more than one Pulitzer Prize, but not because of the books that followed.

Several works awarded by the art world on Monday explored racial issues in American culture, including the opera “Central Park Five” by music champion Anthony Davis. It tells the story of five black and Latino teenagers who were wrongfully convicted for assaulting a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989. Five adult singers portrayed this group of people as boys and men in Davis’s opera.

The Pulitzer Committee called the opera “a brave opera, marked by strong vocal writing and sensitive arrangement, subtly transforming notorious examples of contemporary injustice into sympathetic and hopeful thing.”

Michael Jackson’s “A Strange Loop” (A Strange Loop) is a musical about a man trying to create a musical, and it won an award for the drama. Jackson, who wrote music, stories and lyrics, focused on an overweight and overwhelmed “ball of black chaos,” he tried to navigate multiple worlds—white, black, and gay—and the religious beliefs of his family.

“No one cares about a writer who is working hard to write,” the anxious protagonist Arthur sang.

The Pulitzer Committee called it “a contemplation of universal human fear and insecurity.” The play was released on the playwright’s horizon off Broadway in 2019. Musical plays rarely win Pulitzer Prizes, and only “Next to Normal” and “Hamilton” have won awards since 2010.

“Thanks to everyone who supported me in the process of obtaining such an incredible honor. I’m sure that once I hold my breath and check all these text messages and emails, I will have more to say, but now, Thank you,” Jackson wrote on Twitter.

W. Caleb McDaniel won in history with the “sweet taste of freedom” in which she records how a former enslaved man Henrietta Wood successfully sued a Kentucky law enforcement officer who managed to sell her back to servitude after she was free .

Benjamin Moser’s “Sontag: Her Life and Work” (Sontag: Her Life and Work) tells the story of the late Susan Sontag, which won the Biography Award. There are two winners in the general non-fiction category: Greg Grandin’s “The End of Myth: From the Border to the Border Wall in American Thought” and Amboyer’s “Immortal: Pain, Fragility, Death, Medicine, Art, Time, dreams, data, exhaustion, cancer and care.”

In terms of poetry, Jericho Brown’s “The Tradition” won, which is a meditation on life during mass shootings and police violence. The judges described it as “a superb set of lyrics that combines delicacy with historical urgency to evoke the love of the body vulnerable to hostility and violence.”

Due to the pandemic, the original Pulitzer Awards ceremony scheduled for April 20th was postponed to allow Pulitzer board members more time to evaluate the finalists.


AP music writer Mesfin Fekadu and entertainment writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.

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