The 2011 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced this week, and among the esteemed group, three Asian Americans took home the prize, which honors achievements in journalism, literature, and musical composition.
In 1990, Sheryl WuDunn became the first Asian American to win a Pulitzer, for her coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests in the New York Times (along with husband Nicholas Kristof). This year, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Zhou Long, and John J. Kim each took home the prize, for General Non-Fiction, Music Composition, and Local Reporting, respectively. Here's a rundown of the three Asian American recipients:
Indian American doctor and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee won the Putlizer Prize for General Nonfiction for his book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. In the book, Mukherjee offers up a comprehensive history of the disease as well as chronicling attempts made by the medical world to control and conquer it.
Mukherjee, who was also named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People," is currently an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University in New York. He is married to the artist Sarah Sze, a sculptor and recipient of the 2003 MacArthur Fellows "genius grant." They have two daughters.
Chinese-born composer Zhou Long snagged the Pulitzer Prize in Music, for his first opera, Madame White Snake, which was produced last year at the Boston Opera. Inspired by a Chinese folk tale about a mythical snake that turns into a woman, the opera blends Eastern and Western music traditions.
Zhou became a US citizen in 1999, and currently teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. You can find a performance from his opera here.
John J. Kim of the Chicago Sun-Times received the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting along with fellow reporters Mark Konkol and Frank Main, for their year-long coverage of crime and violence in Chicago neighborhoods, including the impact of the "no-snitch" code.
Kim, a University of Illinois graduate, has been a staff photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times since 2004. Kim moved to the United States from Korea when he was seven years old, and, according to his Pulitzer bio, learned English mostly by watching Sesame Street.
A full list of the Pulitzer Prize winners for 2011 can be found here.