Winner, Winner: Announcing the 2021 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Books

How is already time for new Pulitzer Prize winners??? Time goes by so fast — it has been 13 months since the 2020 announcements. And as it was last year, the the Pulitzer Prize board once again decided to postpone the 2021 award winners’ announcement. This year it was so that the 18 members of the board could all meet safely in person to decide the winners of the 105th year of the awards.

Because of the shuttering of venues in 2020 due to the corona virus, the board considered performances that were broadcast virtually for the first time. The board also awarded a special Pulitzer Prize to Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed the murder of George Floyd. There will be a combined in-person ceremony for the 2019 and 2020 winners in the fall at Columbia University.

The 2021 Pulitzer Prize announcements were introduced on Friday, June 11, 2021 via YouTube livestream by Mindy Marqués and Stephen Engelberg, co-chairs of the Pulitzer Prize board, and all the winners were announced by a narrator. This year’s fiction prize went to Louise Erdrich for The Night Watchman. In 2009, her novel The Plague of Doves was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A full list of winners can be found here.

Fiction

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Biography

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne

Poetry

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

General Nonfiction

Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino

(Related: My favorite part of the Pulitzer announcements every year might be the note on the FAQ part of the website that says “Pulitzer” is pronounced like “PULL it sir.” Why does that make me laugh so much???)

For a look back at last year’s winners, check out our wrap up of the 2020 Pulitzer Awards!

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