Colson Whitehead is the author of The Underground Railroad, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Carnegie Medal for Fiction. The book chronicles the life of Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia, and her quest for freedom through the Underground Railroad, no longer a metaphor but reimagined as an actual set of tracks, tunnels, and conductors lying just beneath the southern soil. His other novels include The Intuitionist, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; John Henry Days; Apex Hides the Hurt; and Zone One. His 2009 book Sag Harbor, described by the Washington Post as “a kind of black Brighton Beach Memoirs,” is a coming-of-age story of an African American teen who summers in the Hamptons.
Whitehead has also written a book of essays about his hometown, The Colossus of New York. His book The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky & Death, is a nonfiction account of the 2011 World Series of Poker. His reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Granta. A recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, he has taught at several universities, including Wesleyan, Princeton, and Columbia.