Whitehead wins second Pulitzer Prize for ‘The Nickel Boys’
In the US, Colson Whitehead has won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel The Nickel Boys (Fleet). He is the fourth person to win the fiction prize twice, after being awarded the Pulitzer in 2017 for The Underground Railroad (Little, Brown).
The Nickel Boys follows two boys sent to an abusive reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. Pulitzer judges described it as ‘ultimately a powerful tale of human perseverance, dignity and redemption’.
Nominated as finalists alongside The Nickel Boys in the fiction category were Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School (Granta) and Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House (Bloomsbury).
The Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction went to two winners: Anne Boyer’s memoir The Undying (Allen Lane), which judges described as ‘an elegant and unforgettable narrative about the brutality of illness and the capitalism of cancer care in America’, and Greg Grandin’s The End of Myth (Metropolitan Books), ‘which probes the American myth of boundless expansion and provides a compelling context for thinking about the current political moment’. Grandin’s book was moved by the board from the history category.
In other categories, Sontag: Her life and work (Benjamin Moser, Allen Lane) won for biography, Sweet Taste of Liberty (W Caleb McDaniel, OUP) won for history, and The Tradition (Jericho Brown, Picador) won for poetry.
To view the full list of winners and finalists, see the Pulitzer website.