In its mordant humor and philosophical skepticism, Percival Everett’s virtuosic body of work exemplifies fiction’s capacity for play, vigilance, and compassion for life’s precarity in an uncertain world.
Born in Fort Gordon, Georgia in 1956, Percival Everett is the author of more than thirty books of fiction and poetry. He is a recent finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (2021) and the recipient of many other accolades, including the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award (2022), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), and two Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards (2010, 2001). Alchemist and trickster, magician and shapeshifter, Everett is our great chronicler of American unreality, all of his novels combining an idiosyncratic and finely-tuned literary sensibility with sharp observations about aesthetics, gender, politics, race, and sexuality. In works like The Trees (2022), a satirical horror novel shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and Assumption (2011), a crime novel-Western hybrid, Everett’s restless intellect and invention are on full display. He skips across the literary trope-scape, plucking from the campus novel, the neo-noir, and the dream vision, producing fiction that is surprising, provoking, moving—and often very, very funny. Everett is currently Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California, a position he has held since 2007. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.
Excited is an understatement. I was shocked upon learning of the prize.PERCIVAL EVERETT