[image-1] Essayist Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her intimate, searing portrait of Mother Emanuel shooter and white supremacist Dylann Roof in GQmagazine Monday afternoon.
The award, presented by Columbia University and named after famed 20th century publisher Joseph Pulitzer, recognizes the best in American journalism and arts throughout a series of categories.
Ghansah spent three months in Charleston covering the Roof’s federal trial for GQ in 2016. Part of this reporting was used in “A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof,” which was published in August to rave reviews from other outlets.
In June 2015, a then-21-year-old Roof walked into a bible study at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston and murdered nine people. A manifesto found after the shooting outlined his white supremacist ideology. In it, he described the shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida as the moment that “truly awakened” him.
He is currently sitting in death row in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Writing for The New York Times, Atlanta-based reporter Kevin Sack (who also spent months in Charleston covering the aftermath of the shooting) called Ghansah’s 9,000-word essay “expansive and intimate.”
The article also won the National Magazine Award for Best Feature earlier this year.
Other notable winners at Monday’s Pulitzer ceremony included The New York Times and The New Yorker, both of which shared in the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their coverage of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the ensuing #MeToo movement. Rapper Kendrick Lamar won the Prize in Music for his album “DAMN.”