On April 10, 2017, the Pulitzer committee released its 101st class of winners. The Pulitzer, which honors America’s strongest journalistic and creative work, is usually chosen from a pool of finalists selected by experts in each category (the Pulitzer jury) and then narrowed down to a single winner by the Pulitzer board.
But the board is not bound to the finalist list created by the jury; that’s just a recommendation. In fact, some years the Pulitzer board has declined to pick a winner at all for certain categories. It is, in other words, a finicky selection process that can lead to some out-of-nowhere choices.
This year’s winners included some head scratchers (okay, Peggy Noonan!), some long-overdue victories (good for you, Hilton Als!), and a few no-brainers (congrats on a pretty fantastic year, Colson Whitehead!), all of which to say that it was pretty standard for the Pulitzers.
The full list of winners is below.
Public service: New York Daily News and ProPublica, for Sarah Ryley’s series on NYPD-led evictions
Breaking news: Staff of the East Bay Times, for their coverage of the Ghost Ship fire
Investigative reporting: Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, for his coverage of the West Virginia opioid epidemic
Explanatory reporting: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, McClatchy and Miami Herald, for the Panama Papers
Local reporting: Staff of the Salt Lake Tribune, for their coverage of sexual assault at Brigham Young University
National reporting: David A. Fahrenthold of the Washington Post, for his coverage of the question of Donald Trump’s philanthropy
International reporting: Staff of the New York Times, for reporting on Vladimir Putin’s efforts to project Russia’s power abroad
Feature writing: C.J. Chivers of the New York Times, for his feature on a Marine’s life after the war
Commentary: Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, for her coverage of the election season
Criticism: Hilton Als of the New Yorker, for his theater reviews
Editorial writing: Art Cullen of the Storm Lake Times, for his coverage of Iowa’s corporate agricultural interests
Editorial cartooning: Jim Morin of the Miami Herald, for his political cartoons
Breaking news photography: Daniel Berehulak, freelancer, for his photography of government assault on drug dealers and users in the Philippines
Feature photography: E. Jason Wambsgans of the Chicago Tribune, for his photo essay on a child who survived a shooting in Chicago
Arts and letters
Fiction: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
Drama: Sweat, by Lynn Nottage
History: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971, by Heather Ann Thompson
Biography: The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, by Hisham Matar
Poetry: Olio, by Tyehimba Jess
General nonfiction: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond
Music: Angel’s Bone, by Du Yun