“The Nickel Boys” author Colson Whitehead won his second Pulitzer Prize for fiction on Monday, while playwright Michael R. Jackson’s meta-musical “A Strange Loop” about a black queer man writing a musical about a black queer man doing precisely the same thing captured the award for drama.
Whitehead previously won the prize in 2017 for “The Underground Railroad.” “The Nickel Boys” centers on two teenagers who are brutalized in an abusive juvenile reformatory school.
The New York Times led the pack with three honors. These awards included a commentary prize for Nikole Hannah-Jones’s essay that appeared as part of The 1619 Project, an ambitious look at the legacy of slavery in the United States. The paper also was recognized for Brian M. Rosenthal’s investigation into predatory loans in the taxi industry, while a series of articles about Vladimir Putin’s corruption and election meddling was awarded the prize for international reporting.
But it was the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica that nabbed what is considered to be the organization’s highest honor — the Pulitzer for public service for a series of stories about a lack of police protection in Alaska’s villages.
Other top prize winners included Benjamin Moser’s “Sontag: Her Life and Work,” which was recognized in the biography category; W. Caleb McDaniel’s “Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America,” recognized in the history category; and Anthony Davis’ opera “The Central Park Five,” recognized in the music category.
The first-ever audio reporting honor was given to “This American Life” and Molly O’Toole of the Los Angeles Times and Emily Green of Vice News for “The Out Crowd,” a deep dive into the impact of the Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers.