Colson Whitehead

79th Annual McKinney Awards

8 p.m. Monday, April 13, 2020
RPI Mckinney Writing Contest Guest Speaker
8 p.m. CBIS (Biotech) Auditorium, RPI, 1623 15th St, Troy, NY 12180
For directions, visit:
Free and open to the public.

Colson Whitehead, a leading writer of his generation, received the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and Carnegie Medal for his #1 New York Times bestseller, The Underground Railroad (2016), an alternative history novel about escaped slaves and slave-catchers set in the pre-Civil War South.


Whitehead also serves as New York’s official State Author by proclamation of Governor Cuomo under the auspices of the New York State Writers Institute.


His new novel is The Nickel Boys (2019), about young men struggling to survive in a Florida reform school based on the notorious, real-life Dozier School for Boys, where dozens of young inmates died under suspicious circumstances. TIME magazine named The Nickel Boys one of the top ten books of the decade.

Sponsored by Rensselaer’s 79th Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading; Vollmer W. Fries Lecture; Department of Communication and Media; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Rensselaer Union; Friends of the Folsom Library; Poets & Writers; and the NYS Writers Institute.

Photo by Madeline Whitehead