Congratulations also to fiction writer Colson Whitehead, who received this year's Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for his novel The Underground Railroad (Doubleday), which I am teaching this spring in my undergraduate literature class on history and myth in contemporary African Diasporic fiction. Whitehead's novel takes the concept of the Underground Railroad and transforms it, using the speculative mode, into a narrative that manages both to capture the essence of the fugitive system and signify on a range of ideological nodes in US history, including state-sanctioned white supremacy, Progressive-era eugenicism, and precarious liberalism's inability to safeguard black life. Throughout Whitehead's skill, at every level of his prose, gleams, and his protagonist, Cora, as well as numerous minor figures, are not easily forgotten.
Noonan included, congratulations again to all this year's recipients, and please go out and buy of a copy of Olio, The Underground Railroad, and any of Als's books, and, before it closes and if you're in New York, catch Sweat! (I still have to myself.)