It was announced Monday that Colson Whitehead will be awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2020 National Book Festival. This esteemed award “honors an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination.” At fifty years old, Colson Whitehead is the youngest person to receive this prize.
Born in New York City in 1969, Whitehead has written seven novels and two nonfiction works. The highly esteemed author was named “America’s Storyteller” in 2019 by Time magazine. He was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2017 and 2020 and the Orwell Prize for political fiction in 2020. Whitehead, who was selected from a list of more than sixty nominees for the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, said in his statement, “I hope that right now there’s a young kid who looks like me, who sees the Library of Congress recognize Black artists and feels encouraged to pursue their own vision and find their own sacred spaces of inspiration.”
Image via time magazine
Today, July 16, Colson Whitehead will join Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden for a conversation on race in America as part of the series Hear You, Hear Me. This conversation will be available at 7pm on the Library’s Facebook and Youtube channel, as well as, on the LoC’s video page. The prize ceremony will take place virtually during the National Book Festival on September 25-27.