Author of The Underground Railroad, winner of Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, and a #1 New York Times Bestseller
Revisiting the Undergroud Railroad
Colson Whitehead was named a recipient of this year’s Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for his powerful novel The Underground Railroad. This huge bestseller, launched into the stratosphere by Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 last August, was awarded the 2016 National Book Award for fiction in November, and is short-listed for the new $75,000 PEN America award. Perhaps most symbolic, The Underground Railroad was the last novel former President Barack Obama read while in office.
The Underground Railroad tells the story of Cora, a 15-year-old slave on a Georgia plantation who escapes to the North via an actual underground railroad, not a metaphorical one. With each stopover and resettlement, Cora’s life is imperiled, the violence and terror manifesting in myriad ways, the traumas accumulating and expanding. In her New York Times review of The Underground Railroad, the Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic Michiko Kakutani writes, “The harrowing tale he (Whitehead) tells here is the back story to the injustices African-Americans and immigrants continue to suffer today, but the back story only in the sense, as Faulkner put it, that ‘the past is never dead. It’s not even past’… [H]e memorializes the yearning for freedom that spurs one generation after another to persevere in the search for justice — despite threats and intimidation, despite reversals and efforts to turn back the clock. He has told a story essential to our understanding of the American past and the American present.”
NOTE: Colson Whitehead spoke at three FAN Events:
Event 1: Monday, February 27, 2017, 7:00 PM, Evanston Township High School Auditorium, 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston.
Event 2: Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 12:00 PM, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 25 E. Pearson St., Chicago.
Event 3: Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 7:00 PM, Francis W. Parker School, Heller Auditorium, 2233 N. Clark St., Chicago.