Harvard University was well-represented in this year’s Pulitzer Prizes, announced Monday, with honors for sociologist Matthew Desmond in general nonfiction, David Fahrenthold ’00 in national reporting, Colson Whitehead ’91 in fiction, and composer Du Yun, a Harvard Ph.D., for music. Also honored: Nick Nehamas ’11 for his work on the Miami Herald team that won in explanatory reporting for coverage of the Panama Papers.
Desmond won for his book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City”; Fahrenthold, of The Washington Post, for his investigation of Donald Trump’s philanthropy; Whitehead for his novel “The Underground Railroad”; and Yun for the opera “Angel’s Bone.”
The citation for “Evicted” called the book “a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty.” Fahrenthold was commended “for persistent reporting that created a model for transparent journalism in political campaign coverage while casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities.”
Whitehead’s novel was honored for its “smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.” Yun’s opera, which premiered in January 2016, was praised as a “work that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world.”
To read the Gazette’s March 2016 conversation with Desmond, click here. An interview with Whitehead was published in September. The Washington Post has published a comprehensive package on David Fahrenthold’s prize-winning work. Fahrenthold also spoke at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy in February as part of its speaker series. Read more about Yun here.