Whitehead wins second Pulitzer with Nickel Boys

Whitehead wins second Pulitzer with Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead has won the Pulitzer Prize for the second time, with his novel The Nickel Boys (Fleet).

The US author previously picked up the same fiction prize in 2017 for The Underground Railroad (Fleet) and becomes only the fourth writer to win twice, following in the footsteps of Booth Tarkington, William Faulkner and John Updike.

His book tells the story of abuse at a reform school in Florida and was inspired by the real life case of Dozier School.

Judges praised the novel for its "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”.

Ursula Doyle, publisher of Fleet, said: "We are very proud indeed to publish Colson, and delighted about this stunning affirmation of what we already know - that he is one of the most inventive, exciting, dazzling, humane and incisive novelists at work today."

This year's prize for general non-fiction was shared between The Undying by Anne Boyer (Allen Lane) and The End of the Myth by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books).

W Caleb McDaniel's Sweet Taste of Liberty (OUP) picked up the history prize, with Sontag: Her Life and Work by Benjamin Moser (HarperCollins) winning in the biography category.

Jericho Brown's The Tradition (Picador) triumphed in the poetry prize while A Strange Loop by Michael R Jackson won the drama category.

This year's announcement, made on 4th May from administrator Dana Canedy's living room, had been postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Each winner receives $15,000.