The author of the vibrant and breath-taken The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead wins the Pulitzer Prize once more. After his New York Times bestseller, initially awarded in the same category, Colson whitehead thrilling dramatization of the left stranded American history novel Nickel Boys is awarded.

Writing America today

The news was made public on May 5, 2020. After several postpone due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, Colson Whitehead was awarded, for a second time the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for fiction. In 2017, he was already honoured for his book entitled The Underground Railroad. This year, His Nickel Boys thrilling and bone-shaken novel caught of the eyes of the jury due to its inspiring recalling of African-American condition in the modern American society and its spare and devastating exploration of race base abuse in the US.

The author, who has always considered himself as the black version of the world famous horror writer Stephen King, is the fourth writer to win the Pulitzer for fiction of the second time. Colson Whitehead’s Nickel Boys tells the story of young Americans fellows, Elwood Curtis and Turner sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. Together, they found themselves caught in a grotesque chamber in which their contradictions will lead them to a decision whose repercussions echo down the decades. In fact the idealist Elwood Curtis mistakenly found himself sentenced for a crime he has not committed, will try, in vain to resist the brutality of the segregationist “Nickel Academy” institution and ultimately weave an escape plan with his sceptical and cynical co-detainee Turner.

A call for American history to be remembered

The story is a call for American history to be remembered. Time has passed and the society monsters veiled under the shadow of good will have started to appear again. Horror is becoming common in the state of liberty where black American are mistakenly gun-shot by cops, without punishment. That is why, Colson whitehead believes that the society seems to forget or tolerate racial acts as he states ‘ in term of institutional racism and segregation and white law enforcement,  attitude towards black people: you can say something from 1850 is true or now’ . “Nickel academy” can righteously be considered therefore as sugarcane plantation where men exploit and humiliate men for they have different colour of skin. Based on that, Colson Whitehead two awards for the Pulitzer is a way to advocate for black emancipation and human right respect in a society where American are labelled by their ethnic groups or religious characteristics.

Njipendi Daouda


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