AMERICA’S STORYTELLER: COLSON WHITEHEAD
Catapulted to literary stardom and a Pulitzer in 2017 on the publication of his exploration of slavery, The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead has since appeared on the cover of Time, with the strapline “America’s Storyteller”, to mark the advent of his new book The Nickel Boys. He says he was compelled to write his seventh novel by the election of Donald Trump. In the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school (based on a real-life Florida institution) in the 1960s, Colson “demonstrates to superb effect how racism in America has long operated as a codified and sanctioned activity intended to enrich one group at the expense of another” (Guardian). His other books include a very funny non-fiction account of the 2011 World Series of Poker (The Noble Hustle). Whitehead talks with Paula Morris.