ILLINOIS (WAND) – A novelist and U of I alumnus has won a 2019 Pulitzer Prize.

The official Pulitzer Twitter account announced Richard Powers as one of several dozen winners Monday for his work on the novel “The Overstory”. The book is a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, according to Powers’ official website. It describes the novel as “a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance”.

Powers' website says he was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1957 and, after finishing high school, went to the University of Illinois to study physics. He was drawn to literature, however, and ended up changing to study English after an honors seminar inspired him.

A U of I biography page says Powers is an emeritus professor of English at the university. 

His first professional work was as a computer programmer and freelance data processor. He quit that job to devote his time to writing, and later completed his first novel, “Three Farmers on Their Way”. He found critical success with “Farmers” and moved overseas, where he wrote “The Gold Bug Variations”.

“The Overstory” first became available for purchase in the spring of 2018. Learn more about it here.

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