Colson Whitehead has gradually worked through his three first names: as a child he went by his first name, Arch; then his second name, Chipp; and later by his current moniker Colson.

A Manhattanite, Whitehead’s first forays into fiction were conceived while he was a writer at The Village Voice. He has gone on to have a lauded career, becoming only the fourth novelist to win two Pulitzer prizes (for The Underground Railway and The Nickel Boys) while in 2019 he graced Time magazine’s cover under the banner ‘America’s storyteller’. An intense thinker, on finishing The Nickel Boys, the heavyweight material left him burnt out and he simply shut down his computer and ‘played video games for six weeks. I just vegged out. It definitely helped.’

Colson Whitehead

All nominated books

The Underground Railroad