‘Underground Railroad’ receives Pulitzer Prize

Published 11:59 am Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Pulitzer Prizes were awarded Monday in journalism, letters, drama and music.

Here are the winners from letters, drama and music:


Winner: “The Underground Railroad,” by Colson Whitehead. For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.

Finalists: “Imagine Me Gone,” by Adam Haslett; “The Sport of Kings,” by C. E. Morgan.


Winner: “Sweat,” by Lynn Nottage. For a nuanced yet powerful drama that reminds audiences of the stacked deck still facing workers searching for the American dream.

Finalists: “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music,” by Taylor Mac; “The Wolves,” by Sarah DeLappe.


Winner: “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy,” by Heather Ann Thompson. For a narrative history that sets high standards for scholarly judgment and tenacity of inquiry in seeking the truth about the 1971 Attica prison riots.

Finalists: “Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It,” by Larrie D. Ferreiro; “New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America,” by Wendy Warren.

Biography or autobiography

Winner: “The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between,” by Hisham Matar. For a first-person elegy for home and father that examines with controlled emotion the past and present of an embattled region.

Finalists: “In the Darkroom,” by Susan Faludi; “When Breath Becomes Air,” by Paul Kalanithi


Winner: “Olio,” by Tyehimba Jess. For a distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity.

Finalists: “Collected Poems: 1950-2012,” by Adrienne Rich; “XX,” by Campbell McGrath.

Matthew Desmond won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction with “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.”

General nonfiction

Winner: “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” by Matthew Desmond. For a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty.

Finalists: “In a Different Key: The Story of Autism,” by John Donvan and Caren Zucker; “The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery,” by Micki McElya.


Winner: “Angel’s Bone,” by Du Yun

Finalists: “Bound to the Bow,” by Ashley Fure; “Ipsa Dixit,” by Kate Soper Premiered on Jan. 6, 2016, at the Prototype Festival, 3LD Arts and Technology Center, New York City, a bold operatic work that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world. Libretto by Royce Vavrek.