This year's virtual Pulitzer Prize ceremony, held on June 11, honored five books spotlighting the lived experiences of people of color in the United States from multiple perspectives.
Louise Erdrich won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for The Night Watchman (Harper), which PW called a "stirring tale of a young Chippewa woman and her uncle’s effort to halt the Termination Act of 1953." Natalie Diaz won the Poetry prize for Postcolonial Love Poem (Graywolf Press), which PW's starred review described as studying "the body through desire and the preservation of Native American lives and cultures, suggesting that to exist as a Native in a world with a history of colonization and genocide is itself a form of protest and celebration."
The Pulitzers award three books in nonfiction categories yearly. The winner of in General Nonfiction is Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino (Atlantic Monthly Press), which PW called, in its starred review of the title, "a searing chronicle of the November 1898 white supremacist uprising in Wilmington, N.C., that overthrew the municipal government." The late Les Payne and Tamara Payne won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography for The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X (Liveright), which our starred review called "an extraordinary and essential portrait of the man behind the icon." The winner in History is Marcia Chatelain for Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (Liveright), giving Liveright, a Norton imprint, two of the five wins this year.