Washington Post Nonfiction Book Critic Carlos Lozada has won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his ambitious and innovative essays that range across politics, presidential history, immigrant memories, national security reporting and feminist analysis to probe national dilemmas.
“The frenzied presidency of Donald Trump has upended countless norms of political and national life. Understanding it requires a critic who can sift through the clashing ideas and agendas, pushing through the noise to find the signal underneath. Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post’s nonfiction book critic, is the interpreter we need. Rather than remain hostage to the publishing industry with weekly reviews of one-off books, Lozada gathers armfuls of new or related volumes and grasps the themes, arguments and urgency pulsing through them,” wrote Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, in his letter of support.
Lozada’s writing has explored the role of identity in political and cultural life, how anti-Trump conservatives contributed to the destruction of the GOP, and why female anger is necessary for America.
Two Washington Post contributors were also recognized with Pulitzer Prizes for their work.
Lorenzo Tugnoli won the prize for Feature Photography for his rich and riveting photographs capturing the human toll of war in Yemen. Tugnoli spent nine weeks in Yemen on assignment for The Post in 2018, traveling to different cities and remote villages to document the far reach of the conflict and portray lives ruined by malnutrition and insecurity.
Darrin Bell won the prize for Cartooning for his editorial cartoons distributed by The Washington Post News Group and Syndicate. Bell’s work champions minorities, the poor and suffering and explores issues such as civil rights, pop culture and science fiction.
He is the first African American to win the Pulitzer in this category.
The Washington Post was also named a finalist in the Public Service, Feature Writing, and Explanatory Reporting categories.
For the Public Service category, The Post was recognized for its reporting and commentary on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote for the paper’s Global Opinions section.
“Khashoggi’s death was personal to us — he was a contributor to our Global Opinions forum. But his assassination was a matter of international significance, an attempt by a government to use lethal violence to silence a critic. His was the kind of killing that, left unchallenged, jeopardizes every reporter, every writer, every dissident whose work exposes tyranny and oppression,” wrote Baron and Fred Hiatt, Editorial Page Editor for The Post, in their joint letter of support.
Early in October, members of the Opinions staff drew attention to Khashoggi’s case, publishing a blank op-ed page where his column should have appeared. With the news staff investigating the murder from Istanbul, Washington and elsewhere, The Post was the first international news organization to report that Turkish authorities concluded that the murder was premeditated, contradicting the Saudi government and President Trump. It was also the first to reveal the CIA’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the killing.
Opinion Columnist Liz Bruenig was named a finalist for Feature Writing for her reporting on the long-ignored assault case of her former classmate, Amber Wyatt, in Texas.
Bruenig spent years reporting the case, ultimately securing Wyatt’s trust and cooperation, without which critical documents would not have been available. After finding the detective who investigated the case and the hospital nurse who conducted the rape examination, she managed to piece together the story of how the system had failed to pursue justice, or even basic decency, in Wyatt’s case. Her final piece raised deeper, unsettling questions about human nature.
Additionally, The Post was recognized in the Explanatory Reporting category for “Murder with Impunity,” its deeply reported series on the stark inequities in police handling of homicide cases.
They exposed, often for the first time, the neighborhoods where justice went unserved and where killers were left to prey on the residents who had nowhere else to go. They found and documented the individual stories that informed and explained the human toll of unequal justice.
Including the 2019 awards, The Washington Post has won 68 Pulitzer Prizes since 1936.