Pittsburgh's People of the Year 2021: Literature | Pittsburgh’s People of the Year | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh's People of the Year 2021: Literature

Brian Broome wins big with debut memoir

click to enlarge Pittsburgh's People of the Year 2021: Literature
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Brian Broome
It’d be difficult to find a year-end best of list that Pittsburgh writer Brian Broome’s 2021 memoir Punch Me Up to the Gods wasn’t listed on. His debut book is a wonderful story chronicling his struggles with race, sexuality, addiction, and recovery. The book made it into Publisher’s Weekly’s Best 20 Books of 2021, The New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2021, and Powell’s Top 10 Audiobooks of 2021, the latter being especially significant because Broome recorded a large part of the audiobook himself. Yet the largest award of the year came this fall when he was crowned the winner of the Kirkus Prize in nonfiction, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, and one that came with a $50,000 prize. Broome, a writer who first gained notoriety locally with delightful tongue-in-cheek Facebook mini essays about his trips on public transit, has still kept his humility and humor through his newfound fame. (Seriously, read his Facebook page and you’re never going to want to delete your account.)