This year’s Pulitzer Prizes have been announced and at least four winning works have Georgia connections.

In arts and letters, the winners in the Biography category are both books about Georgia: King, A Life by Jonathan Eig, is a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ilyon Woo’s Master Slave Husband Wife tells the often harrowing story of Ellen and William Craft, a married couple who escaped slavery in Macon, Ga., in 1848. 

Woo researched some of the book at Macon’s Washington Memorial Library where librarian Muriel McDowell-Jackson manages the genealogy room.

McDowell-Jackson said she’s glad to have had a hand in the prize-winning book telling a story she has long known well. 

Author Woo thanks both McDowell-Jackson and librarian Alicia Owens in the book’s acknowledgements. 

"It's just validation that something we hear and make and, know and acknowledge was part of our history has been received and acknowledged by the world," McDowell-Jackson said.

GPB's book podcast, Narrative Edge, hosted by Orlando Montoya and Peter Biello, featured both Eig and Woo as guests.


King: A Life by Jonathan Eig

King: A Life by Jonathan Eig

  • Jonathan Eig's King: A Life 

    King: A Life by Jonathan Eig, the first major biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in decades, is a generational book filled with new information and perspectives from living witnesses, declassified documents, and unheard audio recordings. After a discussion with Jonathan Eig, Peter and Orlando share some of their thoughts and insights on King: A Life


    Master Slave Husband Wife by Ilyon Woo

  • Ilyon Woo: Master Slave Husband Wife

    Master Slave Husband Wife by Ilyon Woo is the true story of two enslaved people from Macon, William and Ellen Craft, who escaped to freedom in 1848. Their escape was not at night or by the Underground Railroad but in plain sight. In this episode, Peter and Orlando break down this remarkable story.

The prize in Music was awarded to Tyshawn Sorey for Adagio (For Wadada Leo Smith), a composition that premiered March 16, 2023, at Atlanta Symphony Hall.

NPR describes the piece as an "introspective saxophone concerto with a wide range of textures presented in a slow tempo, a beautiful homage that's quietly intense, treasuring intimacy rather than spectacle."

Brnadon Som is currently an assistant professor in literature and creative writing at the University of California, San Diego.

Brnadon Som is currently an assistant professor in literature and creative writing at the University of California, San Diego.

In Poetry, Tripas by Brandon Som, copublished by The Georgia Review and the University of Georgia Press, was selected as the Pulitzer Prize winner for in the category.

Released in March 2023, the poems in Tripas "are built out of a multicultural, multigenerational childhood home, in which he celebrates his Chicana grandmother, who worked nights on the assembly line at Motorola, and his Chinese American father and grandparents, who ran the family corner store. Invested in the circuitry and circuitous routes of migration and labor, Som’s lyricism weaves together the narratives of his transnational communities, bringing to light what is overshadowed in the reckless transit of global capitalism and imagining a world otherwise," a press release from the University of Georgia said.

The book was also a finalist for the 2023 National Book Award for Poetry.