Explore your world
Pulitzer Medals
Pulitzer Medals

A Look at the Literary Pulitzer Prize Winners of 2017

Picture of Michael Barron
Books and Digest Editor
Updated: 10 April 2017
We highlight the winners in the various categories of creative writing and journalism.

The Pulitzer Prize, one of America’s highest awards for journalism, media, literature and music was announced today by the Pulitzer committee. Announcing winners from 21 categories, the prizes included a score of books and writers that have made cultural splashes in the past year. Here is a round-up of the winners along with the citations given upon their award.





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.






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.






Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, by Heather Ann Thompson (Pantheon)
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.





Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 4.19.53 PM


The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, by Hisham Matar (Random House)
For a first-person elegy for home and father that examines with controlled emotion the past and present of an embattled region.





Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 4.21.33 PM


Olio, by Tyehimba Jess (Wave Books)
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.






Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 4.23.16 PM


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond (Crown)
For a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty.






Hilton Als © Dominique Nabokov

Hilton Als © Dominique Nabokov

Hilton Als of The New Yorker
For bold and original reviews that strove to put stage dramas within a real-world cultural context, particularly the shifting landscape of gender, sexuality and race.






C.J. Chivers © Larry D. Moore

C.J. Chivers © Larry D. Moore

C. J. Chivers of The New York Times
For showing, through an artful accumulation of fact and detail, that a Marine’s postwar descent into violence reflected neither the actions of a simple criminal nor a stereotypical case of PTSD.