Andrea Long Chu, New York Magazine’s book critic, was today named the recipient of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism. In the last year, Chu’s work — from her incisive critique of author Hanya Yanagihara to her examination of the recent trend of the mixed-race Asian character in literature — has made an indelible mark on readers and the industry as a whole.
“Andrea Long Chu’s literary criticism is remarkable for its scope as much as its pyrotechnics,” said New York editor-in-chief David Haskell. “She’s most interested in the ways some writers are always revealing themselves: via their politics, especially, and their fixations. When preparing to review a new book, she reads the author’s entire body of work, along with every interview that author has ever given, in an attempt to burrow herself into that writer’s worldview.”
Chu joined New York in late 2021, and in that short time, she has reinvigorated the world of book criticism. Part of the pleasure of reading Chu comes from her fearlessness; her pieces are often celebrated on Twitter with sayings like “I would like to report a murder.” Her sentences are exquisitely crafted, and she articulates fundamental truths about the work as precisely as possible. “This is the problem with writing to wake people up: Your ideal reader is inevitably asleep,” she writes of Ottessa Moshfegh’s books. In her writing, Chu reveals herself, too: Readers can start to discern how she gravitates toward authors she doesn’t fully agree with, where there might be a little friction inherent to the critical project. Out of that friction comes a review whose publication is always an event. In addition to the Pulitzer win, Chu was a finalist for the 2023 National Magazine Award in Reviews and Criticism.
Previously, Chu’s book Females, an extended annotation of a lost play by Valerie Solanas, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Nonfiction. Her debut essay, “On Liking Women,” published by n+1 in 2018, has become essential reading in gender-studies classes across the country. Her essay in support of the graduate student who accused NYU professor Avital Ronell of sexual harassment was reprinted in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019. Her essay “China Brain” was selected for Best American Essays 2022. She holds an M.A. in Comparative Literature from New York University, and she has published on academic subjects in differences, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Women & Performance, and Transgender Studies Quarterly.
This is the first Pulitzer Prize for Vox Media. At New York, Chu joins Pulitzer Prize winner Jerry Saltz (Criticism, 2018) and finalists Justin Davidson and Craig Jenkins (Criticism, 2020 and 2021) in receiving this recognition. Davidson additionally won a Pulitzer Prize in Criticism at Newsday in 2002.
Read Chu’s Pulitzer-winning work: