Aretha Franklin earns posthumous Pulitzer prize

Aretha FranklinImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The gospel-inspired singer recorded dozens of hits including Rock Steady, Respect and Dr Feelgood

The Queen of Soul is now a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Aretha Franklin has been awarded a special citation honouring "her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades".

She becomes the 12th musician, and first female performer, to be given the citation – joining the likes of Bob Dylan, Scott Joplin and John Coltrane.

Franklin died of pancreatic cancer last August, aged 76.

During her career, the singer won 18 Grammys, had 17 top 10 US chart hits and became the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

An artist of immense versatility, her powerful voice, trained in the gospel tradition, moved on to embrace jazz, soul and rhythm and blues.

Rolling Stone magazine rated her as the greatest singer of all time, thanks to songs like Respect, Chain Of Fools and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

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This year's Pulitzer Prize for music went to Ellen Reid's opera p r i s m [sic].

The Pulitzer jury described the piece as a "bold new operatic work that uses sophisticated vocal writing and striking instrumental timbres to confront difficult subject matter: The effects of sexual and emotional abuse".

"It feels unreal – like I'm going to wake up!" said the Tennessee-born composer.

She described her winning opera as challenging and personal, but said it was designed not to alienate the audience.

"There's something about the piece that makes people who haven't experienced sexual assault understand just a little bit more what it might be like," she told US radio station NPR.

Youtube post by LA Opera: The story of "p r i s m"  -  a world premiere Nov 29 - Dec 2 at redcatImage Copyright LA Opera LA Opera Report

The Pulitzers also honour the best in literature, theatre, and journalism.

Jackie Sibblies Drury won the drama prize for Fairview, a play which seems to be a black family comedy in the style of The Cosby Show or A Different World, but takes some unexpected turns, both for the characters onstage and the audience themselves.

The Pulitzer jury called it "a hard-hitting drama that examines race in a highly conceptual, layered structure, ultimately bringing audiences into the actors' community to face deep-seated prejudices".

Novelist Richard Powers won the fiction prize for The Overstory, a multi-narrative look at nine Americans who are brought together unfolding natural catastrophe; while David W Blight picked up the history prize for his acclaimed biography of Frederick Douglas, the escaped slave who became a leader of the abolitionist movement.

The New York Times and Washington Post won journalism awards for their coverage of President Trump, while there was a special citation for the staff of the Capital Gazette, a paper in Maryland that suffered a deadly attack in its newsroom.

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Original Article