Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys is a winner in the fiction category at the Pulitzer Prize 2020 announced today, May 4, 2020. He becomes only the fourth novelist to win the award more than once following in the footsteps of Booth Tarkington, William Faulkner, and John Updike.

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition held annually in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer, who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University. The prize is worth US$15,000 to winners in each of the categories awarded.

The fiction category of the prize has this year been won by Colson Whitehead for his novel The Nickel Boys which dramatizes American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. It is a follow-up to the National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad which also won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017. It makes him a rarity as he is one of only four to have won the Pulitzer Prize more than once and the only one alive to do this.

Colson Whitehead’s response on his Twitter was to share an image of himself in a mask, to go with the times and a T-shirt with “Misfits” emblazoned on the front.