Colson Whitehead is the author of the forthcoming Zone One (October 2011), a wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel in which armed forces try to resettle Manhattan and rid the former metropolis of its remaining plague-ridden inhabitants as well as the “malfunctioning” stragglers who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.
Whitehead’s four previous novels are inventive and highly acclaimed. His debut, The Intuitionist (1999), concerns intrigue in the Department of Elevator Inspectors and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. John Henry Days (2001), an investigation of the steel-driving man of American folklore, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. Apex Hides the Hurt (2006) is a novel about a “nomenclature consultant” who gets an assignment to name a town, and was a recipient of the PEN/Oakland Award. Sag Harbor (2009) is a novel about teenagers hanging out in Sag Harbor, Long Island during the summer of 1985. It was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award.
Whitehead is also a noted essayist with work appearing in publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and Harper’s. The Colossus of New York (2003) is a collection of his essays about that city; it was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Born in 1969 and raised in Manhattan, Whitehead is a graduate of Harvard College and a former reporter for the Village Voice, where he wrote reviews of television, books, and music. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.