Pulitzer Prize Winners 2023: Celebrating American Achievements in Journalism, Literature, Music, and More

pulitzer prize 2023

pulitzer prize 2023

Columbia University has been awarding the Pulitzer Prizes for over a century to honor American achievements in journalism, letters and drama, and music. Widely considered the most prestigious awards in their respective fields within the United States, the 107th Pulitzer Prizes recognized journalists from across the country.

The Associated Press was among the winners, taking home two awards for its coverage of the war in Ukraine, including the highly esteemed Public Service award. The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Al.com also won two Pulitzers each. Kyle Whitmire of Al.com won the Commentary award for his analysis of Alabama’s confederate heritage, while the publication’s Local Reporting Pulitzer was for its series exposing malfeasance by the local police force. Mississippi Today won the other Local Reporting Pulitzer for Anna Wolfe’s reporting on a former governor’s corruption.

The New York Times also won two Pulitzers, for International Reporting and for Illustrated Reporting and Commentary. Caitlin Dickerson, a former NPR reporter who now works for The Atlantic, won a Pulitzer for explanatory reporting for her work on migrant families separated at the southern border.

In an unusual but not unprecedented move, two books were awarded the fiction prize: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver and Trust by Hernan Diaz. Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa’s book, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Viking), while only a finalist in the biography category, won the Pulitzer in the General Nonfiction category, almost exactly three years after Floyd’s murder.

Prizes in Journalism

The Pulitzer Prizes for journalism were announced, and the awards honor outstanding reporting across a wide range of categories. The 2023 winners included several powerful reports on important topics, showcasing the exceptional work of journalists.

The Public Service award was given to the Associated Press for the work of Mystyslav Chernov, Evgeniy Maloletka, Vasilisa Stepanenko, and Lori Hinnant for their courageous reporting from the besieged city of Mariupol, which bore witness to the slaughter of civilians in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Los Angeles Times staff won the Breaking News Reporting award for their coverage of a secretly recorded conversation among city officials that included racist comments, followed by deeply reported pieces that delved further into the racial issues affecting local politics.

The Wall Street Journal staff won the Investigative Reporting award for their 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.

Caitlin Dickerson of The Atlantic won the Explanatory Reporting award for her 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.

John Archibald, Ashley Remkus, Ramsey Archibald, and Challen Stephens of AL.com won the Local Reporting award for their 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. Anna Wolfe of Mississippi Today, Ridgeland, Miss., won the award 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.

The National Reporting award was given to Caroline Kitchener of The Washington Post for her 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.

The New York Times staff won the International Reporting award 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.

Eli Saslow of The Washington Post won the Feature Writing award for his evocative individual narratives about people struggling with the pandemic, homelessness, addiction, and inequality that collectively form a sharply observed portrait of contemporary America.

Kyle Whitmire of AL.com won the Commentary award for his 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.

Andrea Long Chu of New York Magazine won the Criticism award for her book reviews that scrutinize authors as well as their works, using multiple cultural lenses to explore some of society’s most fraught topics.

The Editorial Writing award was given to Nancy Ancrum, Amy Driscoll, Luisa Yanez, Isadora Rangel, and Lauren Costantino of the Miami Herald for their series of editorials on the failure of Florida public officials to deliver on many taxpayer-funded amenities and services promised to residents over decades.

Mona Chalabi, a contributor to The New York Times, won the Illustrated Reporting and Commentary award for her striking illustrations that combine statistical reporting with keen analysis to help readers understand the immense wealth and economic power of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The Photography Staff of the Associated Press won the Breaking News Photography award for their unique and urgent images from the first weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including

Fiction Prize: Barbara Kingsolver’s “Demon Copperhead” (Harper) has won the prize for its captivating retelling of David Copperfield, narrated by an Appalachian boy who shares his experiences of poverty, addiction, institutional failures, and moral collapse, and his struggles to overcome them. Hernan Diaz’s “Trust” (Riverhead Books) has also been awarded for its intricate exploration of family, wealth, and ambition through linked narratives written in various literary styles, delving into the complexities of love and power in a capitalist society.

Drama Prize: Sanaz Toossi’s “English” has won the Drama Prize for its powerful portrayal of four Iranian adults preparing for an English language exam in a storefront school near Tehran. As family separations and travel restrictions drive them to learn a new language, they confront the possibility of altering their identities and embarking on a new life.

History Prize: Jefferson Cowie’s “Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power” (Basic Books) has been awarded the History Prize for its illuminating account of an Alabama county shaped by settler colonialism and slavery, illustrating the evolution of white supremacy and its connections to anti-government and racist ideologies.

Biography Prize: Beverly Gage’s “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century” (Viking) has won the Biography Prize for its nuanced and deeply researched portrayal of the polarizing figure of J. Edgar Hoover, highlighting his monumental achievements and crippling flaws.

Memoir or Autobiography Prize: Hua Hsu’s “Stay True” (Doubleday) has won the Memoir or Autobiography Prize for its elegant and poignant coming-of-age account that explores intense youthful friendships and the unexpected ways in which random violence can alter our personal narratives.

Poetry Prize: Carl Phillips’ “Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007-2020” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) has won the Poetry Prize for its masterful collection of poems that chronicle American culture as it grapples with politics, life in the aftermath of a pandemic, and our place in a changing global community.

General Nonfiction Prize: Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa’s “His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice” (Viking) has won the General Nonfiction Prize for its intimate and riveting portrait of the man whose fatal encounter with police officers sparked an international movement for social change, shedding light on his humanity and complicated personal story.

Music Prize: The Music Prize goes to Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ “Omar,” an American opera premiered on May 27, 2022, at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C. It is an innovative and compelling opera that respectfully represents African and African American traditions and expands the language of the operatic form while conveying the humanity of enslaved people brought to North America from Muslim countries.

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