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College of Arts & Sciences
The Open Book

Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad

While The Open Book loves to find under-the-radar books or visit the past, sometimes a recent "it book" is too good not to include. The Underground Railroad won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, and the Heartland Prize for 2016. It was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, became a #1 New York Times Bestseller, was picked by Oprah, and was a Best Book of the Year for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NewsdayEsquire, and many others. The National Book Award judges' citation describes it well: "The Underground Railroad confirms Colson Whitehead’s reputation as one of our most daring and inventive writers. A suspenseful tale of escape and pursuit, it combines elements of fantasy and the counter-factual with an unflinching, painfully truthful depiction of American slavery.... He has given us an electrifying narrative of the past, profoundly resonant with the present." A graduate of Harvard, Whitehead is the author of five earlier novels, a book of essays about New York City, and a nonfiction work on the World Series of Poker.

Monday, March 26: Talk on The Underground Railroad
Wednesday, March 28: Colson Whitehead visits
Colson Whitehead