Pulitzer Prize Essays

Three writers for The New Yorker have won a 2016 Pulitzer Prize, and we’d like for you to get another chance to read their award-winning work.

Emily Nussbaum, who has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, writes essays and reported pieces about television that are fearless, hilarious, and pioneering. Among the pieces submitted to the Pulitzer committee were her standout essays on Joan Rivers, P. Jay Sidney, advertising, and “Mad Men.” (Hilton Als, our theatre critic, was a finalist in the same category, for his writing about Annie Baker and Sam Shepard and Patti Smith, among others.)

Kathryn Schulz, who arrived at _The New Yorker _less than two years ago, has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, for “The Really Big One,” her piece on the more than a little troubling geology of the Pacific Northwest. Her evocations of the earthquake in Japan in 2011 and of the earthquake that could occur in the states of Washington and Oregon stay with us much like works of the best fiction, to say nothing of horror films.

And William Finnegan, who has been a staff writer since 1987, has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, for his memoir about surfing, “Barbarian Days.” This project has been Finnegan’s literary obsession for a very long time. It began as a series in our pages more than two decades ago, and came to completion in June, with “Off Diamond Head,” an excerpt from the book, which was published not long after.

_Here are the complete archives for Emily Nussbaum, Kathryn Schulz, and William Finnegan. _

T.J. Stiles

“Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America” (Alfred A. Knopf)


Mr. Stiles, 51, was cited for a “magisterial” biography that “radically changes our view of the man and his turbulent times,” looking past a tidy narrative that ends at Little Bighorn to take in the vast panorama of America’s transformation in the 19th century.

In an interview, Mr. Stiles said he was drawn to the subject by the richly emotional documentation left by Custer and the people who lived most intimately with him, including his wife, Libby Bacon, and Eliza Brown, a self-emancipated black woman who worked as a cook in camp for Custer.

“The tensions of friendship across the color divide and the gender divide are central to the book,” he said.


Annie Jacobsen, “The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency”

Brian Matthew Jordan,“Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War”

James M. Scott, “Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor”

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