According to the Los Angeles Times, Compton native and acclaimed hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his 2017 album “Damn.” It is the first time work outside of the classical and jazz genres has been recognized in that category.
In today’s announcement, the Pulitzer board described the album as a “virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African American life.”
“Damn,” released on April 14, 2017, is Lamar’s fourth studio album following 2015’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” 2012’s “good kid, m.A.A.d city” and “Section.80,” released in 2011. In January “Damn” won the Grammy for best rap album and was among the nominees for album of the year.
Elizabeth Alexander, whose memoir was a finalist in 2016 for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and who wrote and recited an original poem at Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural, will be the next president of theAndrew W. Mellon Foundation, the country’s largest humanities philanthropy.
“All of the things that I’ve cared about my whole life and worked toward my whole life Mellon does,” said Ms. Alexander in a telephone interview, citing areas like higher education and scholarship, arts and cultural heritage, and diversity.
She added that “arts and humanities are not the most protected entities right now.”
Ms. Alexander succeeds Earl Lewis, who has served since 2013. She will start in March, becoming the foundation’s first female president.
“She has deep experience in cultivating partnerships that extend and amplify creative vision,” Danielle Allen, the foundation’s chairwoman, said in a statement, adding that Ms. Alexander “brings an artist’s forward-looking energy to institutional purpose.”
Ms. Alexander, who has written six books of poetry and two essay collections, was most recently a humanities professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Before that, she served as the director of creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation, where she helped design Agnes Gund’s $100 million Art for Justice Fund.
“This appointment is a milestone in the history of American philanthropy,” said Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation. “It’s the combination of being both rooted in the arts and grounded in the humanities and understanding philanthropy that is going to make her a success.”
Ms. Alexander has also worked closely with the Poetry Center at Smith College; the nonprofit Cave Canem, which trains aspiring poets; and Yale University, where she spent 15 years on the faculty and helped rebuild the African-American Studies department.
The Pulitzer Prize committee announced its 2017 winners at its 101st annual ceremony on Monday. Among the 21 winners of the prestigious literary award, four black writers were commended for their work. BuzzFeed News’ executive editor Saeed Jones tweeted that Tyehimba Jess, Hilton Als, Lynn Nottage and Colson Whitehead were among the new class of winners.
Jess won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry forOlio, a collection of his sonnets, songs and narratives that highlight the lives of “unrecorded African-American performers” before the Civil War up to World War I.
Nottage won the Pulitzer Prize in drama for her Broadway show Sweat. The play, a political drama, centers on a group of friends who spent most of their lives working with each other in a factory and follows their friendship’s tumultuous friendship as rumors of layoffs begin to stir. According to Playbill, Nottage is the first female playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize twice. Nottage tweeted out thank yous for her award.
Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his 2016 novelThe Underground Railroad. The novel tells the story of a teenage heroine, Cora, in 1850s Georgia who tries to escape a cotton plantation and start her journey toward freedom.
Als, a theater critic for the New Yorker, won a Pulitzer Prize in criticism.
Acclaimed poet, author and professor Elizabeth Alexander has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize board.
Alexander wrote and delivered her poem “Praise Song for the Day” for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry American Sublime and a 2016 Pulitzer finalist for her memoir, The Light of the World, according to the announcement on the Pulitzer website.
Alexander has taught at several schools, including the University of Chicago, New York University and Smith College, and was part of the faculty at Yale University for 15 years; she also served as chair of Yale’s department of African-American studies. Alexander was recently named the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and is the director of creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation.
As a member of the 19-person board, Alexander will help decide the winners of the Pulitzer Prizes in in journalism, books, drama and music each April. She will serve a three-year term on the Pulitzer Prize board, on which members serve a maximum of nine years.
NEW YORK (AP) — Ta-Nehisi Coates is a prize-winning nonfiction author, journalist and comic book writer. Now he is taking on fiction.
Random House’s One World imprint announced Thursday that Coates has two more books planned, one nonfiction and the other fiction. The books were acquired by One World publisher Chris Jackson, who edited Coates’ best-selling “Between the World and Me.” The book was a Pulitzer Prize finalist last month and winner of the National Book Award.
The first new book is scheduled to come out next year. No other details were made available.
Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and is working on a new Black Panther comic book series for Marvel. He is also the author of “The Beautiful Struggle,” a memoir about his childhood.
“Hamilton,” the Broadway smash that’s looked like an awards-season favorite from the moment it opened, has been awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Although it’s rare for a musical to the win the drama prize over plays, “Hamilton” had nonetheless looked like a lock for the Pulitzer, given its link to American history and the fresh, contemporary resonances it finds in the nation’s foundational moments. (The most recent musicals to nab the Pulitzer were the 2010 show “Next to Normal” and 1996’s “Rent.”)
The Pulitzer win could be the first of many victories for “Hamilton.” Much of the theater industry considers the show’s sweep of the Tony Awards as a foregone conclusion. “The Humans,” Stephen Karam’s subtly drawn portrait of one American family’s anxieties, was one of the few obvious titles that seemed likely to give “Hamilton” a little competition; that play was named a 2016 finalist, as was Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Gloria.” “Hamilton’s” victory came during the centennial year for the Pulitzers, which recognize excellence in the arts and in journalism.
The Associated Press won the gold medal in public service, considered by many to be the top Prize, for its probe into labor abuses in the seafood business.
“The Sympathizer,” debut novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen’s look at a Vietnamese spy, took the fiction prize, while “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” Joby Warrick’s look at the Islamic terrorist group, nabbed the non-fiction statue. T.J. Stiles won his second Pulitzer in the biography category for “Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America.”
The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum captured the criticism prize, one of two awards for the magazine. The other came in the feature writing category, where Kathryn Schulz was honored for her look at how the Cascadia fault line could lead to environmental disaster. Magazines have only been eligible for Pulitzers for a year. New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan was also honored in biography for his surfing memoir “Barbarian Days.”
“Digest” by Gregory Pardlo has won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The judges cited Pardlo’s “clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st Century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private.”
Pardlo was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey. Currently, he is an associate editor for the literary journal Callaloo and a contributing editor for Painted Bride Quarterly. Pardlo’s poems, reviews, and translations have been widely published and are noted for “language simultaneously urban and highbrow… snapshots of a life that is so specific it becomes universal.” He lives in Brooklyn.
To learn more about Pardlo and his work, click here.
PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — The papers of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison are now part of the permanent library collection of Princeton University. Princeton made the announcement Friday, shortly before the 83-year-old Morrison took part in a forum at the school where she served on the faculty for 17 years.
The renowned author’s papers contain about 180 linear feet of research materials documenting her life, work and writing methods. They include manuscripts, drafts and proofs of many of Morrison’s novels. Materials for her children’s literature, lyrics, lectures, correspondence and more are also part of the collection.
Additional manuscripts and papers will be added over time, beginning with the manuscript of Morrison’s next novel, which is expected to be published in the spring.
Morrison, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel “Beloved” in 1988, came to Princeton in 1989 and was a member of the university’s creative writing program until she retired in 2006. In 1994, she founded the Princeton Atelier, bringing together undergraduate students in interdisciplinary collaborations with acclaimed artists and performers.
“Toni Morrison’s place among the giants of American literature is firmly entrenched, and I am overjoyed that we are adding her papers to the Princeton University Library’s collections,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said. “We at Princeton are fortunate that (Morrison) brought her brilliant talents as a writer and teacher to our campus 25 years ago, and we are deeply honored to house her papers and to help preserve her inspiring legacy.”
Morrison received an honorary doctorate during the school’s 2013 commencement.
In “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3),” a new drama by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (“Topdog/Underdog”), Hero, a slave, is offered a deal by his master: Leave behind his family and fight for the Confederacy in exchange for his freedom. This decision and its implications are at the heart of this historical tale, whose first three parts open Tuesday at the Public Theater. If this work sounds too familiar to be a “world premiere,” as it is billed, that’s because it has been gestating for years, with workshop productions staged at the Public Lab in 2009 and this year. Sterling K. Brown (“The Brother/Sister Plays”) is Hero, and Jo Bonney directs. (425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, 212-967-7555, publictheater.org.)
Natasha Trethewey, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta, was reappointed to another term as Poet Laureate of the United States. She is also serving a four-year term as the poet laureate of the state of Mississippi.
James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, stated, “The Library and the country are fortunate Natasha Trethewey will continue her work as Poet Laureate. Natasha’s first term was a resounding success, and we could not be more thrilled with her plans for the coming year.”
A native of Gulfport, Mississippi, Professor Trethewey is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She holds a master’s degree from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.