Author Wins Pulitzers With 2 Consecutive Books

Colson Whitehead takes the fiction prize again
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 4, 2020 5:24 PM CDT
Author Wins Pulitzers With 2 Consecutive Books
The photography staff of Reuters was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for wide-ranging and illuminating photographs of Hong Kong as citizens protested infringement of their civil liberties and defended the region's autonomy by the Chinese government.   (Courtesy of Reuters via AP)

Colson Whitehead became the rare author to receive Pulitzers for consecutive books when his novel about a brutal Florida reform school during the Jim Crow era, The Nickel Boys, was awarded the fiction prize Monday. Three years ago, he won for his Civil War era novel The Underground Railroad. Pulitzer judges praised The Nickel Boys as "a spare and devastating exploration of abuse” that is “ultimately a powerful tale of human perseverance, dignity and redemption," the AP reports. Whitehead, 50, is known for his experimental narratives and immersion in American history and folklore. His previous works include John Henry Days and The Intuitionist. In a statement issued through publisher Doubleday, Whitehead said the news of his winning Monday was "pretty nuts!"

"Obviously I’m very honored and I hope that it raises awareness of the real life model for the novel—the Dozier School for Boys—so that the victims and their stories are not forgotten," he said. William Faulkner and John Updike are among the previous fiction writers to win more than one Pulitzer, but not for books that immediately followed the other. Other winners announced Monday:

  • National Reporting: T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose, and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica for their investigation into America’s 7th Fleet after a series of deadly naval accidents in the Pacific, and Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker, and Lewis Kamb of the Seattle Times for stories that exposed design flaws in the Boeing 737 Max.
  • International Reporting: The staff of the New York Times, for " a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.
  • Breaking News Reporting: The staff of the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., for "rapid coverage of hundreds of last-minute pardons by Kentucky’s governor, showing how the process was marked by opacity, racial disparities and violations of legal norms."
  • Investigative Reporting: Brian M. Rosenthal of the New York Times for an exposé of the city's taxi industry that led to federal and state investigations.
  • Public Service: A collaboration between the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica for coverage of policing in Alaska villages.
  • Music. Anthony Davis' opera The Central Park Five, which tells of the wrongful conviction of five black and Latino teenagers for the 1989 assault on a white female jogger in Central Park.

A full list of winners can be seen here.

(More Pulitzer Prize stories.)

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