Lit: Whitehead rides "Underground Railroad" to Pulitzer
American novelist Colson Whitehead has won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The book recasts the storied "underground Railroad" of escape networks spearheaded by Harriett Tubman to help Blacks escape from Southern plantations during slavery, as an actual network of tracks and tunnels - with conductors and engineers. It focusses on Cora, a slave who takes the risk of escaping with Caesar, as the relentless slave hunter Ridgeway pursues them. Whitehead, according to the report from the Prize committee, brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. Whitehead is the New York Times bestselling author of The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.