Topdog/Underdog, John Adams Win Pulitzers

The 2002 Pulitzer Prize for drama was awarded Monday to Suzan-Lori Parks for Topdog/Underdog, a two-character play touching on themes of family wounds and healing.

The play, an off-Broadway hit last summer, made its official Broadway debut on Sunday night to rave reviews. It tells the story of black brothers named Lincoln and Booth.

The prize for biography went to David McCullough for John Adams.

It was McCullough's second Pulitzer; his first was for Truman in 1993. He beat out finalists former President Jimmy Carter, for his book, An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood, and biographer Jean Edward Smith for Grant.

McCullough won on his wife Rosalee's birthday.

"It couldn't have happened on a more appropriate day, given that she's been so much involved all along," McCullough said from his home at West Tisbury, Mass.

In the fiction category, the Pulitzer was awarded to Richard Russo for Empire Falls.

Russo, who lives in Maine with his wife and two daughters, won the prize over best-selling National Book Award winner The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen.

Franzen made headlines when he balked at accepting Oprah Winfrey's endorsement as a selection for her book club.

The Pulitzer for general nonfiction went to Diane McWhorter for Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution.

"Oh my God," she said upon receiving word of the prize. "I'm fainting now, lying on my bed. I've got my hands over my eyes."

McWhorter won for her first book. The native of Birmingham, who now lives in New York, is a longtime contributor to The New York Times and writes for the op-ed page of USA Today.

"I am probably the first person in the world to say, `I'm so lucky to be from Birmingham, Alabama,"' she said.

The poetry award went to Carl Dennis for "Practical Gods."

The history prize went to Louis Menand for The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. Menand is an English professor at the City University of New York graduate center and a staff writer at the New Yorker.

`I'm totally pleased," Menand said.

The prize for music was captured by Henry Brant, for "Ice Field." The Canadian-born Brant is a pioneer of spatial music, in which the instruments are dispersed around the concert hall. He has written more than 100 works widely performed in the United States and Europe.