New York, NY (May 8, 2023) – The 107th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music were announced today.
The winners in each category, along with the names of the finalists in the competition, follow:
A. PRIZES IN JOURNALISM
- PUBLIC SERVICE
For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper, magazine or news site through the use of its journalistic resources, including the use of stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or other visual material, a gold medal.
Awarded to Associated Press for the work of Mystyslav Chernov, Evgeniy Maloletka, Vasilisa Stepanenko and Lori Hinnant, courageous reporting from the besieged city of Mariupol that bore witness to the slaughter of civilians in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Austin American-Statesman, in collaboration with the USA Today Network, for unflinching coverage of local law enforcement’s flawed response to the massacre of 19 school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, including a haunting video of police delays; and The Washington Post for an exhaustive investigation of the fentanyl crisis ravaging families across the country that tracked the import and distribution of the drug and the government’s failure to address the epidemic of addiction.
2. BREAKING NEWS REPORTING
For a distinguished example of local, state or national reporting of breaking news that, as quickly as possible, captures events accurately as they occur, and, as time passes, illuminates, provides context and expands upon the initial coverage, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to the Staff of the Los Angeles Times for revealing a secretly recorded conversation among city officials that included racist comments, followed by coverage of the rapidly resulting turmoil and deeply reported pieces that delved further into the racial issues affecting local politics.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Staff of The New York Times for its urgent and comprehensive coverage of New York City’s deadliest fire in decades, expertly combining accountability reporting across platforms with compassionate portraits of the 17 victims and the Gambian community that had long called the Bronx high-rise home; and Josh Gerstein, Alex Ward, Peter S. Canellos, Hailey Fuchs and Heidi Przybyla of Politico for exclusive coverage of the unprecedented leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and giving states the power to regulate abortion. (Moved by the jury from National Reporting, where it originally was entered.)
3. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
For a distinguished example of investigative reporting, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to the Staff of The Wall Street Journal for sharp accountability reporting on financial conflicts of interest among officials at 50 federal agencies, revealing those who bought and sold stocks they regulated and other ethical violations by individuals charged with safeguarding the public’s interest.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Joaquin Palomino and Trisha Thadani of the San Francisco Chronicle for an investigation into the city’s failure to fulfill promises to provide safe housing for its homeless citizens, including the creation of a database that showed the concentration of overdose deaths among residents of government-funded tenements; and Staff of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn., for exposing systematic failures in the state’s juvenile justice system that endangered the lives of young people and crime victims, reporting that contributed to the most sweeping legislative changes in the system in three decades.
4. EXPLANATORY REPORTING
For a distinguished example of explanatory reporting that illuminates a significant and complex subject, demonstrating mastery of the subject, lucid writing and clear presentation, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to Caitlin Dickerson of The Atlantic for deeply reported and compelling accounting of the Trump administration policy that forcefully separated migrant children from their parents, resulting in abuses that have persisted under the current administration.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Duaa Eldeib of ProPublica for poignant, comprehensive reporting that clearly demonstrated how the U.S. healthcare system has failed to lower the number of preventable stillbirths in the country; and Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post for his sweeping examination of the destruction of the Amazon, using rich data and images, that explores the conflicts between those people who see it as their birthright to exploit the area, those who seek to preserve indigenous communities and those desperate to protect the earth.
5. LOCAL REPORTING
For a distinguished example of coverage of significant issues of local or statewide concern, demonstrating originality and community connection, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Two Prizes of $15,000 each:
Awarded to John Archibald, Ashley Remkus, Ramsey Archibald and Challen Stephens of AL.com, Birmingham, for a series exposing how the police force in the town of Brookside preyed on residents to inflate revenue, coverage that prompted the resignation of the police chief, four new laws and a state audit.
Awarded to Anna Wolfe of Mississippi Today, Ridgeland, Miss., for reporting that revealed how a former Mississippi governor used his office to steer millions of state welfare dollars to benefit his family and friends, including NFL quarterback Brett Favre.
Also nominated as a finalist in this category was: Staff of the Los Angeles Times for coverage of the state’s legal cannabis industry that combined satellite imagery, public records searches and sometimes dangerous on-the-ground reporting to reveal widespread criminality, labor abuses and environmental consequences.
6. NATIONAL REPORTING
For a distinguished example of reporting on national affairs, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to Caroline Kitchener of The Washington Post, for unflinching reporting that captured the complex consequences of life after Roe v. Wade, including the story of a Texas teenager who gave birth to twins after new restrictions denied her an abortion.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Stephania Taladrid, contributing writer, The New Yorker, for sweeping and empathetic reporting on individuals caught in the abortion fight in New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, including stories about an abortion underground, women and girls trying to get health care, and the final days of a Houston abortion clinic; and Joshua Schneyer, Mica Rosenberg and Kristina Cooke of Reuters, for a year-long investigation that exposed how two of the world’s largest automakers and a major poultry supplier in Alabama violated child labor laws and exploited undocumented immigrant children.
7. INTERNATIONAL REPORTING
For a distinguished example of reporting on international affairs, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to the Staff of The New York Times, for their unflinching coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including an eight-month investigation into Ukrainian deaths in the town of Bucha and the Russian unit responsible for the killings.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Paul Carsten, David Lewis, Reade Levinson and Libby George of Reuters, for their reporting of Nigeria’s campaign of lethal violence carried out by the military over a decade in which they forced thousands of women to undergo abortions after being freed from sexual captivity by Boko Haram rebels and also slaughtered dozens of their living children; and Yaroslav Trofimov and James Marson of The Wall Street Journal, for prescient
on-the-ground reporting from the shifting front lines of the war in Ukraine that presaged the Russian assault on Kyiv and chronicled the tenacious resistance of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians amidst so much devastation.
8. FEATURE WRITING
For distinguished feature writing giving prime consideration to quality of writing, originality and concision, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to Eli Saslow of The Washington Post for evocative individual narratives about people struggling with the pandemic, homelessness, addiction and inequality that collectively form a sharply-observed portrait of contemporary America.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Elizabeth Bruenig of The Atlantic for exposing the tortuous last hours of inmates awaiting execution on Alabama’s death row and the efforts by the state to conceal the suffering, which led to a temporary moratorium on executions; and Janelle Nanos of The Boston Globe for her decade-long investigation of a woman’s quest to confirm her childhood sexual abuse that finally uncovered evidence that seemed to verify the horrors.
For distinguished commentary, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to Kyle Whitmire of AL.com, Birmingham, for measured and persuasive columns that document how Alabama’s Confederate heritage still colors the present with racism and exclusion, told through tours of its first capital, its mansions and monuments–and through the history that has been omitted.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Xochitl Gonzalez of The Atlantic for thoughtful, versatile and entertaining columns that explore how gentrification and the predominant white culture in the U.S. stifle the physical and emotional expression of racial minorities (Moved by the jury from Criticism, where it originally was entered); and Monica Hesse of The Washington Post for columns that convey the anger and dread that many Americans felt about losing their right to abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
For distinguished criticism, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to Andrea Long Chu of New York magazine for book reviews that scrutinize authors as well as their works, using multiple cultural lenses to explore some of society’s most fraught topics.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Lyndsay C. Green of the Detroit Free Press for rigorously reported coverage of restaurant openings and recommended dishes that also serve as an immersive cultural portrait of a vital American city; and Jason Farago of The New York Times for art criticism, especially for taking a critical eye to the frontlines of Ukraine to explore the cultural dimensions of the war, including verifying damages to architecture and other sites and explaining Russia’s efforts to erase the Ukrainian identity.
11. EDITORIAL WRITING
For distinguished editorial writing, the test of excellence being clearness of style, moral purpose, sound reasoning, and power to influence public opinion in what the writer conceives to be the right direction, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to Nancy Ancrum, Amy Driscoll, Luisa Yanez, Isadora Rangel and Lauren Costantino of the Miami Herald for a series of editorials on the failure of Florida public officials to deliver on many taxpayer-funded amenities and services promised to residents over decades.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Lisa Falkenberg, Joe Holley, Nick Powell and the late Michael Lindenberger of the Houston Chronicle for helping Texas readers to understand the Uvalde tragedy–the shooting as well as the failure of police and other officials to respond–and encouraging them to channel grief into action to protect the public going forward; and Alex Kingsbury of The New York Times for highlighting the existential threat of terror and violence committed by right-wing political extremists, and making the case that the United States already has the tools to fight back if resources are dedicated to the effort.
12. ILLUSTRATED REPORTING AND COMMENTARY
For a distinguished portfolio of editorial cartoons or other illustrated work (still, animated, or both) characterized by political insight, editorial effectiveness, or public service value, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to Mona Chalabi, contributor, The New York Times for striking illustrations that combine statistical reporting with keen analysis to help readers understand the immense wealth and economic power of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Matt Davies of Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., for his sharp editorial perspective on the year’s political figures, rendered in distinctive drawings that avoid formulaic punchlines and are often from the vantage point of those who are not in power; and Pia Guerra, contributor, The Washington Post for her elegant black-and-white drawings that offer insightful commentary on the year’s biggest news events, illustrations distinguished by their simplicity, playfulness and emotional punch.
13. BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY
For a distinguished example of breaking news photography in black and white or color, which may consist of a photograph or photographs, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to the Photography Staff of Associated Press for unique and urgent images from the first weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the devastation of Mariupol after other news organizations left, victims of the targeting of civilian infrastructure and the resilience of the Ukrainian people who were able to flee.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Rafiq Maqubool and Eranga Jayawardena of Associated Press for a compelling visual narrative documenting public fury over Sri Lanka’s economic collapse, including clashes between protesters and police, the takeover of government buildings and jubilation as protesters occupied the plush presidential mansion; and Lynsey Addario of The New York Times for her single image of a Ukrainian mother, her two children and a church member splayed on the street of a Kyiv suburb after a mortar shell exploded on a “safe passage” route–a photograph that clearly showed that Russia was targeting civilians.
14. FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
For a distinguished example of feature photography in black and white or color, which may consist of a photograph or photographs, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to Christina House of the Los Angeles Times for an intimate look into the life of a pregnant 22-year-old woman living on the street in a tent–images that show her emotional vulnerability as she tries and ultimately loses the struggle to raise her child.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Photography Staff of Associated Press for images capturing the vulnerability, trauma and defiance of elderly Ukrainians caught in the Russian invasion, many of them unable or unwilling to flee the carnage; and Gabrielle Lurie and Stephen Lam of the San Francisco Chronicle for their painstaking documentation of fentanyl addiction in the city that led officials to create supervised drug consumption locations and voters to approve an oversight commission for the homeless hotels where 40% of overdoses occur.
15. AUDIO REPORTING
For a distinguished example of audio journalism that serves the public interest, characterized by revelatory reporting and illuminating storytelling, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to the Staff of Gimlet Media, notably Connie Walker, whose investigation into her father’s troubled past revealed a larger story of abuse of hundreds of Indigenous children at an Indian residential school in Canada, including other members of Walker’s extended family, a personal search for answers expertly blended with rigorous investigative reporting.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Kate Wells, Sarah Hulett, Lindsey Smith, Laura Weber-Davis and Paulette Parker of Michigan Radio for a visceral documentary recorded behind the closed doors of an abortion clinic, allowing listeners to hear conversations between practitioners and patients, and the controversial procedure itself; and Jenn Abelson, Nicole Dungca, Reena Flores, Sabby Robinson and Linah Mohammad of The Washington Post for “Broken Doors,” a powerful examination of the human toll of no-knock warrants across the country, using the voices of police, judges and the victims of the surprise raids, reporting that led to policy changes and, in one case, to prosecutors dropping a death penalty request.
B. LETTERS AND DRAMA PRIZES
For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Two Prizes of $15,000 each:
Awarded to “Demon Copperhead,” by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper), a masterful recasting of David Copperfield, narrated by an Appalachian boy whose wise, unwavering voice relates his encounters with poverty, addiction, institutional failures and moral collapse—and his efforts to conquer them.
Awarded to “Trust,” by Hernan Diaz (Riverhead Books), a riveting novel set in a bygone America that explores family, wealth and ambition through linked narratives rendered in different literary styles, a complex examination of love and power in a country where capitalism is king.
Also nominated as a finalist in this category was: “The Immortal King Rao,” by Vauhini Vara (W.W. Norton), about a tech genius turned exile and the daughter who is struggling to break free of his hold, a complicated family saga that is also an ambitious novel exploring topics such as climate change and the legacy of colonialism in a vibrant and surprisingly humorous voice.
For a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to “English,” by Sanaz Toossi, a quietly powerful play about four Iranian adults preparing for an English language exam in a storefront school near Tehran, where family separations and travel restrictions drive them to learn a new language that may alter their identities and also represent a new life.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “On Sugarland,” by Aleshea Harris, an ambitious drama, inspired by Sophocles, of a community shaped by the trauma of a nameless war they have been dealing with for generations, and the ancestors they mourn, a solemn but also joyful work; and “The Far Country,” by Lloyd Suh, an account of emigrants who traveled from China to San Francisco and suffered in the shadows of a strange new world, a historical portrait of the ruthless dynamic of immigration that is also timely.
For a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to “Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power,” by Jefferson Cowie (Basic Books), a resonant account of an Alabama county in the 19th and 20th centuries shaped by settler colonialism and slavery, a portrait that illustrates the evolution of white supremacy by drawing powerful connections between anti-government and racist ideologies.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Watergate: A New History,” by Garrett M. Graff (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster), a comprehensive analysis of the country’s best-known political crime, a finely-crafted synthesis of multiple sources into a comprehensive account that is engaging, humanizing and funny; and “Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America,” by Michael John Witgen (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture/University of North Carolina Press), a piercing analysis of
exploitative colonial arrangements made by the U.S. in the settling of the Old Northwest, and of Native resistance.
For a distinguished and appropriately documented biography by an American author, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century,” by Beverly Gage (Viking), a deeply researched and nuanced look at one of the most polarizing figures in U.S. history that depicts the longtime FBI director in all his complexity, with monumental achievements and crippling flaws.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Mr. B: George Balanchine’s 20th Century,” by Jennifer Homans (Random House), a sweeping, eloquent, and deeply insightful portrait of the choreographer who reinvented ballet as an American art form, a man whose life was full of urgent passions and faults; and “His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa (Viking), an intimate, riveting portrait of an ordinary man whose fatal encounter with police officers in 2020 sparked an international movement for social change, but whose humanity and complicated personal story were unknown. (Moved by the Board to the General Nonfiction category.)
- MEMOIR or AUTOBIOGRAPHY
For a distinguished and factual memoir or autobiography by an American author, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to “Stay True,” by Hua Hsu (Doubleday), an elegant and poignant coming of age account that considers intense, youthful friendships but also random violence that can suddenly and permanently alter the presumed logic of our personal narratives.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Easy Beauty,” by Chloé Cooper Jones (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster), a spellbinding and brutally honest memoir drawing on art, travel, cultural observation and philosophical scholarship to convey the full experience of life as a disabled person whose view of humanity becomes increasingly compassionate; and “The Man Who Could Move Clouds,” by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (Doubleday), a lyrical personal account that reclaims a family legacy of indigenous practices, beliefs, and narratives to challenge Western notions of history and memory.
For a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to “Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007-2020,” by Carl Phillips (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a masterful collection that chronicles American culture as the country struggles to make sense of its politics, of life in the wake of a pandemic, and of our place in a changing global community.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Still Life,” by the late Jay Hopler (McSweeney’s), a startling and darkly funny collection of sonnets, lyrics, epigrams and songs that produces a jolt of electric joy as the poet grapples with his end-of-life concerns and mortal fears; and “Blood Snow,” by dg nanouk okpik (Wave Books), poems of deep attention and prismatic intelligence, which render a collapsing biosphere from the perspective of an ancient Arctic culture rooted in community, survival and guardianship.
7. GENERAL NONFICTION
For a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to “His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa (Viking), an intimate, riveting portrait of an ordinary man whose fatal encounter with police officers in 2020 sparked an international movement for social change, but whose humanity and complicated personal story were unknown. (Moved by the Board from the Biography category.)
Nominated as finalists in this category were: “Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction,” by David George Haskell (Viking), an insightful and revelatory work that scientifically reconsiders natural sound as a wonder of evolution, voicing concern that noisy human progress may return us to silence; “Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution that Made China Modern,” by Jing Tsu (Riverhead Books), a beguiling and original geopolitical account of how China’s international prominence was made possible by the preservation and modernization of the Chinese language and the integration of Mandarin into global communication; and “Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and the Health of Our Nation,” by Linda Villarosa (Doubleday), a morally urgent and elegantly rendered work drawing on history, medical research and years of reporting to document how racism infects the American healthcare system, a call to action that also offers some solutions.
C. PRIZE IN MUSIC
For distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Awarded to “Omar,” by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, premiered on May 27, 2022 at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charlotte, S.C., an innovative and compelling opera about enslaved people brought to North America from Muslim countries, a musical work that respectfully represents African as well as African American traditions, expanding the language of the operatic form while conveying the humanity of those condemned to bondage.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Perspective,” by Jerrilynn Patton, recording by Third Coast Percussions released on May 13, 2022 by Cedille Records, an artful work that uses technology to create a musical language of shifting textures, driving grooves and floating melodies that morph over seven movements, generating connectivity as well as difference; and “Monochromatic Light (Afterlife),” by Tyshawn Sorey, first performed on February 19, 2022 at the Rothko Chapel, Houston, Texas, an exquisitely crafted composition that balances density with fragile detail using chords and singing, particularly a strong bass voice, a masterful blend of sound and contemplative silence.
The Pulitzer Prize Board met at Columbia University on May 4 and 5 to select the 2023 winners.
Nancy Barnes, Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Kevin Merida and Viet Thanh Nguyen were re-elected to membership on the board.
The members of the Pulitzer Prize Board are: President Bollinger; Elizabeth Alexander, president, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Anne Applebaum, author and staff writer, The Atlantic; Nancy Barnes, editor, The Boston Globe; Neil Brown, president, Poynter Institute for Media Studies; Nicole Carroll, executive director, ASU Media Enterprise and professor of practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Sewell Chan, editor in chief, The Texas Tribune; Jelani Cobb, dean, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University; Gabriel Escobar, editor and vice president, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Kelly Lytle Hernandez, professor of history, African American studies and urban planning, and Thomas E. Lifka Chair of history, UCLA; Carlos Lozada, opinion columnist, The New York Times; Kevin Merida, executive editor, Los Angeles Times; Viet Thanh Nguyen, Aerol Arnold Chair of English and professor of American studies and ethnicity and comparative literature, USC; Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO, The 19th; David Remnick, editor and staff writer, The New Yorker; Tommie Shelby, Caldwell Titcomb professor of African and African American studies and professor of philosophy, Harvard University; Ginger Thompson, chief of correspondents, ProPublica; and Marjorie Miller, administrator, The Pulitzer Prizes.
In any category in which board members have an interest due to the action of the various nominating juries, those members do not participate in the discussion and voting and leave the room until a decision is reached in the affected category. Similarly, members of nominating juries do not participate in the discussion of or voting on entries in which they have an interest.