The 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Journalism, Literature, and Music was announced recently. They were announced after being postponed for several weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the notable winners, American author Colson Whitehead was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, becoming the fourth writer ever to win the award twice. He was awarded the honour for his book The Nickel Boys, which gives an account of the abuse of black boys at a juvenile reform school in Florida. He received the prize earlier in the same category in 2017 for his book, The Underground Railroad.
Only Booth Tarkington, William Faulkner and John Updike have the unique distinction of winning the Pulitzer for fiction twice.
— The Pulitzer Prizes (@PulitzerPrizes) May 4, 2020
Here are the winners in a few of the categories:
|Public Service||Anchorage Daily News with contributions from ProPublica|
For a riveting series that revealed a third of Alaska’s villages had no police protection, took authorities to task for decades of neglect, and spurred an influx of money and legislative changes.
|Breaking News Reporting||Staff of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.|
For its 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. (Moved by the jury from Local Reporting, where it was originally entered.)
|Investigative Reporting||Brian M. Rosenthal of The New York Times|
For an exposé of New York City’s taxi industry that showed how lenders profited from predatory loans that shattered the lives of vulnerable drivers, reporting that ultimately led to state and federal investigations and sweeping reforms.
|Explanatory Reporting||Staff of The Washington Post|
For a groundbreaking series that showed with scientific clarity the dire effects of extreme temperatures on the planet.
|Breaking News Photography||Photography Staff of Reuters|
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.
|Audio Reporting||Staff of This American Life with Molly O’Toole of the Los Angeles Times and Emily Green, freelancer, Vice News|
For “The Out Crowd,” revelatory, intimate journalism that illuminates the personal impact of the Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.
BOOKS, DRAMA, AND MUSIC
|Fiction||The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)|
A spare and devastating exploration of abuse at a reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida that is ultimately a powerful tale of human perseverance, dignity and redemption.
|Drama||A Strange Loop, by Michael R. Jackson|
A metaﬁctional musical that tracks the creative process of an artist transforming issues of identity, race, and sexuality that once pushed him to the margins of the cultural mainstream into a meditation on universal human fears and insecurities.
|History||Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America, by W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford University Press)|
A masterfully researched meditation on reparations based on the remarkable story of a 19th century woman who survived kidnapping and re-enslavement to sue her captor.
|Biography||Sontag: Her Life and Work, by Benjamin Moser (Ecco)|
An authoritatively constructed work told with pathos and grace, that captures the writer’s genius and humanity alongside her addictions, sexual ambiguities and volatile enthusiasms.
|Poetry||The Tradition, by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)|
A collection of masterful lyrics that combine delicacy with historical urgency in their loving evocation of bodies vulnerable to hostility and violence.
|Music||The Central Park Five, by Anthony Davis|
Premiered on June 15, 2019 at the Long Beach Opera, a courageous operatic work, marked by powerful vocal writing and sensitive orchestration, that skillfully transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful. Libretto by Richard Wesley.
What is the Pulitzer Prize?
Established in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in literature, journalism, and music. It was established by the provisions of the will of Joseph Pulitzer, a renowned newspaper publisher.
The winners are awarded in 21 categories.
Fun Fact: Did you know that John F. Kennedy is the only President of the United States to be awarded the 1957 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for his book Profiles in Courage.4
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