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About Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead is the critically acclaimed, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of eleven works of fiction and nonfiction, including "The Underground Railroad" (winner of the 2016 National Book Award and 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) and "The Nickel Boys" (winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction). When selecting it as an Oprah Book Club pick, Oprah Winfrey raved, “From the first page of Colson Whitehead’s extraordinary novel 'The Underground Railroad,' I knew I was reading something ground-shifting.” Whitehead’s most recent novels, "Harlem Shuffle" and "Crook Manifesto," are the first two installments of a trilogy set on the streets of New York City in the 1960s and 1970s. The hugely entertaining stories offer hilarious morality plays, incisive commentary on race and power, and ultimately read as a love letter to Harlem. Several of Whitehead’s novels have been adapted for TV and film, including producer Barry Jenkins’ "Underground Railroad" limited TV series on Amazon, MGM Orion’s film adaptation of "The Nickel Boys," and HBO Max’s TV series on "Sag Harbor."

Time magazine named Whitehead one of the “100 Most Influential People” in 2017, the Library of Congress awarded him the Prize for American Fiction in 2020, and in 2021 he received the National Humanities Medal from President Biden for his contributions “as an American literary icon.” His cultural impact continues to grow with each new book. A dynamic speaker, Whitehead lectures with his characteristic honesty and wit. He is a winsome storyteller who enthralls audiences with anecdotes about his diverse bibliography, irreverent “Rules for Writing,” and his unique approach to every novel.

A 2016 National Book Award winner, "The Underground Railroad" is a magnificent tour de force that chronicles a young slave’s journey during a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. The novel offers a shattering meditation on the United States’ complicated political and racial history. Whitehead’s 2019 book, "The Nickel Boys," is an exploration of life under Jim Crow told from the perspective of two boys in one of the country’s most notorious real-life juvenile correction institutions, the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, located in the Florida panhandle. This meticulously researched and searing novel was an instant New York Times bestseller, won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in fiction, and was longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award and nominated for The National Book Critics Circle Award.

Whitehead is also the  author of "The Intuitionist," "John Henry Days," "The Colossus of New York" (a book of essays about the city), "Apex Hides the Hurt," "Sag Harbor," "Zone One," and "The Noble Hustle." His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s, and Granta, among other publications. A PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and recipient of the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Kirkus Prize, and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, Whitehead also received both a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has taught at universities across the country and he lives in New York City.



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