Competition: US & Canada
Colson Whitehead was born in 1969, and was raised in Manhattan. After graduating from Harvard College, he started working at the Village Voice, where he wrote reviews of television, books, and music. His first novel, The Intuitionist (1998), concerned intrigue in the Department of Elevator Inspectors, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and a winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Voices Award. John Henry Days followed in 2001. An investigation of the steel-driving man of American folklore, it was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. The novel received the Young Lions Fiction Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His next book, The Colossus of New York, was a collection of essays about the city. It was published in 2003 and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Apex Hides the Hurt (2006), a novel about a “nomenclature consultant” who gets an assignment to name a town, was a recipient of the PEN/Oakland Award. Sag Harbor, published in 2009, is a novel about teenagers hanging out in Sag Harbor, Long Island, during the summer of 1985. It was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Zone One (2011) is a novel set in postapocalyptic New York City.
Colson Whitehead’s reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, including the New York Times, New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s, and Granta. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.