Korean American author Ilyon Woo wins Pulitzer Prize for biography

Korean American author Ilyon Woo wins Pulitzer Prize for biographyKorean American author Ilyon Woo wins Pulitzer Prize for biography
via ilyonwooauthor
Ryan General
10 days ago
Korean American author Ilyon Woo won the 2024 Pulitzer Prize for biography for her book “Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom.”
Key points:
  • Columbia University announced the winners of this year’s Pulitzers on May 6.
  • Woo’s “Master Slave Husband Wife” tells the true story of a couple’s daring escape from slavery.
  • She first came upon the story while at Columbia University, where she completed her PhD in English.
About the author:
  • Woo is a bestselling author for both the “Master Slave Husband Wife” and her previous book, 2010’s “The Great Divorce: A Nineteenth-Century Mother’s Extraordinary Fight Against Her Husband, the Shakers, and Her Times.”
  • “The Great Divorce” explores the early 19th century struggle of a New York woman fighting for the custody of her children.
The details:
  • “Master Slave Husband Wife” recounts the true story of Ellen and William Craft, an enslaved couple who escaped slavery in 1848 using disguises. This involved Ellen posing as a wealthy white man with William disguised as her enslaved person.
  • Woo revealed to International Examiner hat her late mentor, Robert Ferguson, inspired her fascination with U.S. history.
  • Woo shared that the book’s research unearthed countless “epiphanic lights” across various sources, noting that she’s “still making discoveries” even after the book’s completion. 
  • While on her book tour, Woo connected with descendants of the Crafts who are planning a family foundation.
About the prize:
  • The Pulitzer Prizes are prestigious awards honoring excellence in journalism, literature and the arts, as decided by the Pulitzer Prize Board.
  • Recent winners include Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, who shared the 2021 Peace Price, and Japanese scientist Syukuro Manabe, who was awarded the 2021 Prize in Physics.
What’s next:
  • Woo shared that she is committed to sharing the Crafts’ story through various mediums, including a potential digital project.
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