“Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah’s deeply reported and essayistic writing pushes the form of longform journalism, ranging from a poignant profile of master painter Henry Taylor to a searing exposé of the hotbed of racism and white supremacy that fueled the heinous murder of nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina. Her power of observation and nuanced writing both shines light on Black Americans and dares us to look at the forces that shape race in America.”

2019 Judging Panel

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah is a journalist, essayist and critic whose work on such figures as Toni Morrison, Missy Elliott, and Kendrick Lamar has been widely acclaimed. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The Believer, and The New York Times Magazine, amongst several other outlets and publications. “If He Hollers Let Him Go,” an essay on comedian Dave Chappelle, was a National Magazine Award finalist and has been called a classic.

In 2017, her essay on James Baldwin was selected for The Best American Essays, and this year, “A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof,” won the National Magazine Award for Best Feature Writing and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. She was also selected for the Root 100’s 2018 list as one of the most influential young African Americans working in the US today. Her first book, The Explainers & the Explorers, is forthcoming. It will be published by Scribner in the States, and by Penguin in the UK. She lives in New York.

Visit Rachel’s tumblr page.