Colson Whitehead wins the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for ‘The Underground Railroad’

Colson Whitehead won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in fiction Monday for “The Underground Railroad.” It caps a sweep of accolades that the book has received since its publication by Doubleday in August 2016, including winning the National Book Award in November and being selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club.

The Pulitzer committee praised “The Underground Railroad” as “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.”

The Underground Railroad” took Whitehead 16 years to write. He received a MacArthur fellowship in 2002.


In her review of the book, Los Angeles Times critic-at-large Rebecca Carroll wrote that it is “a fiercely salient reckoning of what it means, has meant and continues to mean to be black in America” and noted that “’the Underground Railroad’ could not be more timely and necessary.”

The two finalists in fiction were “Imagine Me Gone” by Adam Haslett and “The Sport of Kings” by C.E. Morgan.

“The Underground Railroad’s” win marks the Pulitzer Prizes’ 101st year . A complete list of winners and finalists can be found on the Pulitzer website.