The 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winners have just been announced, and everyone is talking about the fiction and nonfiction winners. In a category as broad as General Nonfiction, it can be hard to know where to start or what to grab next, and is probably even harder to narrow down to three finalists and one winner. But, given the competitiveness of these awards, and the high standards writers must reach for this recognition, it's safe to say you'll want to get your hands on Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond, because everyone and their mother is going to be grabbing it ASAP.
Evicted is a nonfiction, award-winning book that combines personal stories and hard data to show the real life impacts of eviction. In it, Desmond proves the world-shattering effects of eviction on self, family, and community. Evicted does not seek to answer all the questions, as people will, ultimately, always slip through the cracks. Rather, it seeks to set a new standard for reporting on poverty in a world where people so often get it wrong.
Desmond himself is an American sociologist and urban ethnographer. He is currently serving as the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and Co-Director of the Justice and Poverty Project. He has authored several other, award-winning books, including On the Fireline. And in 2015, he was awarded the MacArthur "Genius" grant in for his work on poverty in America.
Desmond's win, and the recognition of an intersectional exploration of poverty and eviction, is more important than ever. We are living in an America which is undeniably segregated, particularly so when power positions in our government are being held by folks who are entirely inexperienced and ignorant to the work but are considered and put into place because of their skin color, sex, and influence.
As much as the emotional passion and resistance to fascism has empowered people to act, it's more important than ever to move forward with work like Desmond's which combines the facts with the heart and passion that help them matter to people. The reality is that the travesty and violations of eviction—or generally, making decisions that affect people from a positions of power—will arguably be more pervasive than ever when the people making decisions have never had to struggle or live in areas where poverty, poor education, violence, and addiction were realities.
Past winners of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction include: Joby Warrick for Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, Elizabeth Kolbert for The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, and Samantha Power for "A Problem From Hell": America and the Age of Genocide. Last year, Ta-Nehisi Coates was nominated for Between the World and Me. The list goes on, full of works spanning countries and fields of study,
There are 21 Pulitzer Prizes total and the winners of all of them can be found here, on the awards' official website. The nominees are never announced ahead of time so be sure to follow this story as a book near and dear to your heart may very well be a winner.