It’s nice to see people giving respect to the efforts of black writers, because quite frankly, black people keep winning this 2017. Yesterday, the Pulitzer Prize Committee publicly announced the winners of this distinguished award. Among the 21 selected, four of the winners were black.
The categories for the four winners included poetry, criticism, drama and fiction.
Inducted into this year’s class of Pulitzer Prize winners is Poet Tyehimba Jess, who won for his poetry collection titled Olio. Born and raised in Detroit, Jess’ poetry collection beautifully merges music and history into the creation of Olio. The award game isn’t a new thing for him; back in 2006, he won the Whiting Award for Leadbelly, his first poetry book. He’s also a man of many different hats, as he is currently an Associate Professor of English at the College of Staten Island in New York City.
Pulitzer Prize Winner Hilton Als acquired this year’s award for his theater criticism at The New Yorker. Hilton Als has been with The New Yorker since 1994, first as a staff writer and later promoted to his current theater critic role in 2002. Several of his noteworthy pieces submitted to the Pulitzer Prize Committee included “Dreamgirls: John Doyle’s fresh and vital revival of ‘The Color Purple,’” “Pop Psychology Onstage in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’,” and “Bookworms: A stage of adaptation of 2666.’” This theater critic is sharing his gems with college students as an Associate Professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
Brooklyn native and playwright Lynn Nottage won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in the drama category for her notable work on Sweat, an on-Broadway play about long-term friends that are pitted against each other after a factory lay-off alters their existing dynamic. What’s even more commendable? Nottage has won this award twice, which makes her the first female playwright in Pulitzer Prize history to win this award a second time around!
Finally, novelist Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for Underground Railroad in the fiction category. This incredible literary account narrates the journey of two slaves who take a chance at freedom from their plantation responsibilities in Georgia by following the escape route of the Underground Railroad. Needless to say that prior to this award, The Underground Railroad became a New York Times Best Seller. Auntie Oprah also selected this literary work as a title in her book club last summer.
Photo: AP, The Guardian, MPR News, The New Yorker, The Seminary Co-Op