(New York, 1969) is seen as one of the most ambitious, ground-breaking contemporary American writers. His latest novel, The Underground Railway, was chosen for Oprah Winfrey's 2016 Book Club Selection. Obama put it on his summer reading list. November 2016 Whitehead received the National Book Award, the most prestigious American literary prize, for his novel. The book is Whitehead's alternative history of slavery in America. Slave Cora flees via the Underground Railway (a clandestine network of anti-slavery activists) to the free north as a macabre Alice in Wonderland. The New York Times drew wrote that the book helps not only to understand America's past but also contemporary times. Whitehead debuted in 1999 with The Intuitionist, named the best novel of the year by Esquire magazine. Besides six novels, he has also written two non-fiction books, and regularly writes for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Granta and Harper's.(WU 2017)
Archive available for: Colson Whitehead
The American writer talks about his favourite book - the book that inspires or moves him; the book that formed his moral or intellectual compass; the book that he would recommend to anyone. Interviewer: Arjan Peters. In English.
Writers are more likely to take up the pen than the sword in order to fight injustice. Fiction becomes their ideological act. In The Underground Railway, the American Colson Whitehead gives a voice to Cora the slave in the so-called land of the free. Bolivian Rodrigo Hasbún writes about the daughter of a Nazi who becomes a guerrilla fighter in South America. Romanian Mircea Cărtărescu's characters groan under the communist yoke and escape into literature and the past, while Dutch writer Carolina Trujillo describes an underworld of drugs and dealers in Montevideo, Uruguay, where a former guerrilla was president until 2015. Moderator: Judith Uyterlinde.
A late-night show about the United States of America that touches on many issues, from the shrinking middle class to the differences between whites and blacks, from hopeful new immigrants to the embittered white underclass. The America of the supporters of Donald Trump. A discussion between bestselling US author Colson Whitehead, Bolivian author Rodrigo Hasbún, Dutch writer Christine Otten and Anglo-Dutch writer Ian Buruma about America in the era of president Trump. Stephan Sanders moderates the conversation and Spoken Beat Night adds a jazzy musical interpretation of the American story.