Aretha Franklin Awarded Posthumous Pulitzer Prize

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American soul singer, Aretha Franklin, is now a Pulitzer Prize winner.

The Queen of Soul 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.

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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.

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. 

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