The Pulitzer Prize committee at Columbia University announced its winners Monday afternoon. Among those selected were three black writers: film critic Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe, Tracy K. Smith for her book Life on Mars and the late Manning Marable for his final work, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.
Morris won the best criticism award, Smith for poetry and Marable in the category of history.
“It’s a huge honor,” Morris said to the Boston Globe after the win, “Awards are not something you think about when you’re doing your job.”
WATCH RACHEL MADDOW’S COVERAGE OF THE PULITZER WINNERS:
One of Morris’ reviews submitted for the consideration by the Pulitzer committee was his commentary on the movie The Help, where he wrote critically, ”The Help joins everything from To Kill a Mockingbird to The Blind Side as another Hollywood movie that sees racial progress as the province of white do-gooderism.” It was one of many views expressed by black audiences and a part of most analysis that surrounded the film up until Hollywood’s award season.
Marable’s book was also controversial upon its release, just three days after the scholar’s death, for its complicated depiction of a slain civil rights figure. Critical acclaim came soon after however, with Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention receiving a nomination for the National Book Award and named one of the New York Times’ top 10 books of 2011.
Tracy K. Smith’s wining work of poetry, Life on Mars, was also heralded by the New York Times for it’s vastness. Smith’s approach to the relationship between humans beings and the universe was described as sending readers “out into the magnificent chill of the imagination and then returns us to ourselves, both changed and consoled.”
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