Underground Railroad (Whitehead) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—November 6, 1969
Where—New York City, New York (USA)
Education—B.A., Harvard University
Awards—PEN/Oakland Award; Whiting Writers Award
Currently—ives in Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Colson Whitehead is a New York-based novelist and nonfiction works. He was born and raised in New York City, attending attending Trinity, a private prep school, in Manhattan. He graduated from Harvard College in 1991.

After leaving college, Whitehead wrote for The Village Voice and while there began working on his novels. His first, The Institutionalist, published in 1999, concerned intrigue in the Department of Elevator Inspectors, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and a winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club's New Voices Award.

Next came John Henry Days in 2001. The novel is an investigation of the steel-driving man of American folklore. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. The novel received the Young Lions Fiction Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

The Colossus of New York followed in 2003. A book of essays about the city, it is a meditation on life in Manhattan in the style of E.B. White's well-known essay "Here Is New York." Colossus became a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Apex Hides the Hurt, released in 2006, centers around a fictional "nomenclature consultant" who gets an assignment to name a town. The book earned Whitehead the PEN/Oakland Award.

Sag Harbor, set in 1985, follows a group of teenagers whose families (like Whitehead's own) spend the summer in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Published in 2009, the novel was a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2010 came Zone One, a post-apocalyptic story set New York City.

In 2014 Whitehead published his second work of nonfiction, this one about the 2011 World Series of Poker—The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky & Death. Two years later, in 2016, his novel The Underground Railroad, was released. Widely acclaimed, many critics agree that it is destined to become an American masterpiece.

In addition to his books, Whitehead's reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper's and Granta, and others.

Teaching and writing
He has taught at Princeton University, New York University, the University of Houston, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, Wesleyan University, and been a Writer-in-Residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond, and the University of Wyoming.

In the spring of 2015, he joined The New York Times Magazine to write a column on language.

He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, A Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. (Adapted from the author's website and Wikipedia. Retrieved 9/6/2016.)

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