On Monday, the 170th anniversary of the birth of benefactor Joseph Pulitzer, the 2017 winners of the Pulitzer Prizes were announced. Established 100 years ago in 1917, winning a Pulitzer Prize still stands as one of the most coveted honors for those in journalism and the arts.
While 14 of the 21 Pulitzer categories covered various accomplishments in Journalism, we would like to highlight the seven awards given for “Letters, Drama & Music”. (For a list of the Journalism awards, click here.)
In each category, an overall winner is selected, with two additional entries named as finalists. We have also included in our awards listing the Pulitzer Committee’s note commenting on the winner in each of their respective categories.
2017 PULITZER PRIZE WINNERS IN LETTERS, DRAMA & 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 were Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett and 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 were A 24-Decade History of Popular Music by Taylor Mac and 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 were Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It by Larrie D. Ferreiro and New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America by Wendy Warren
BIOGRAPHY OR AUTOBIOGRAPY
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.
In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi and When Breath Becomes Air, by the late 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 were Collected Poems: 1950-2012 by the late Adrienne Rich and XX by Campbell McGrath
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 were In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker, and The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery by Micki McElya
WINNER: Angel’s Bone by Du Yun – Premiered on January 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.
Finalists were Bound to the Bow by Ashley Fure and Ipsa Dixit by Kate Soper
Congratulations to all the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists!