Hilton Als and Lynn Nottage Win 2017 Pulitzer Prizes

April 10, 2017

School of the Arts faculty members Hilton Als, Associate Professor of Writing, and Lynn Nottage, Associate Professor of Theatre, have been awarded 2017 Pulitzer Prizes in Criticism and Drama, respectively.
Hilton Als was awarded the Prize for his work in The New Yorker, described by the judges as “theater reviews written with such erudition and linguistic sensitivity that they often become larger than their subjects.”

The Pulitzer Prize in Criticism has been awarded since 1970 to a newspaper or magazine writer for distinguished criticism using any available journalistic tool, and was previously awarded to Writing faculty member Margo Jefferson for book reviews and other cultural criticism appearing in The New York Times in 1995. Als was also afinalist for the 2016 prize in Criticism, also for pieces featured in The New Yorker. He is the author of two acclaimed nonfiction books, The Women and White Girls, and currently teaches the seminar “Black Male: Investigations Into the Black Male Body,” with readings including Richard Wright’s Black Boy, William Styron’sThe Confessions of Nat Turner, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’Between the World and Me.

Lynn Nottage won the Prize in Drama for her play Sweat, which the judges cited as “a nuanced yet powerful drama that reminds audiences of the stacked deck still facing workers searching for the American dream.”

Nottage is widely recognized as a transformative playwright and screenwriter. Her plays have been produced in the United States and throughout the world, and have won her Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships. Sweat came to Broadway this spring after a sold-out run at The Public Theater, and earlier this year was awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. This is Nottage’s second Pulitzer Prize, the first awarded in 2009 for Ruined.

The Pulitzer Prize in Drama has been awarded since 1918 for a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life. The prize was previously awarded to School of the Arts Film alumnus Ayad Akhtar ‘02 for  his play, Disgraced  Both awards carry with them a prize of $15,000.
In addition to these winners, writing program alumnus Campbell McGrath '88 was listed as a finalist in poetry for the award. McGrath received the nomination for his book XX, a poetic history of the twentieth century—"a stirring, strikingly original, intensely imagined recreation of the most potent voices and searing moments that have shaped our collective experience," according to the publisher.