Colson Whitehead’s Next Novel ‘The Nickel’ Examines Black Boys Beaten and Sexually Abused at Reform School

FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2017 file photo, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Colson Whitehead speaks during the presentation of the Italian edition of his novel “The Underground Railroad” at the Argentina Theatre in Rome. (Maurizio Brambatti/ANSA via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Colson Whitehead’s next novel after “The Underground Railroad” is another look at the country’s tragic past and will be out July 2019.

Whitehead’s “The Nickel” is set in a brutal reform school in early 1960s Florida, Doubleday announced Wednesday. Scheduled for July 2019, the book is based on real events during the Jim Crow era, with students being beaten and sexually abused. The narrative centers on two students, one of whom believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of nonviolent change and another who thinks the world hopelessly rigged.

“The Underground Railroad,” published in 2016, was a surreal story of an escaped slave that won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award and was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. His other works include “The Intuitionist” and “John Henry Days.”

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