Libyan novelist and poet Hisham Matar has won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in biography for his critically acclaimed memoir The Return.

On Monday, the Pulitzer board announced its 101st list of winners and nominees on their website, honoring  journalists, photographers and writers for their work during 2016.

Matar's memoir chronicles a trip he made back home to Libya in search of his father, Jaballa Matar.

His father was a colonel in the Libyan army and a key member of the opposition to the government. While living in exile in Egypt, Jaballa Matar was kidnapped by Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi's secret intelligence services in 1990. He was taken to a Libyan prison.

The family last heard from Jaballa Matar in two letters he wrote from prison in 1996, since then his fate remains unknown.

According to the New York times the Pulitzer citation called The Return “a first-person elegy for home and father,” executed with “controlled emotion.”

The memoir has received critical acclaim since its release in June of 2016. It also won the 2017 Pen/jean Stein book award.

In addition to The Return, Matar has also authored In The Country of Men (2006) and Anatomy of a Disappearance (2011). He currently lives and writes in London. 

The Prestigious Pulitzer

Considered a top prize in the world of journalism, the Pulitzer was launched in 1917.

Named after Joseph Pulitzer – who was considered one of the "most skillful of newspaper publishers" and "a passionate crusader against dishonest government" – in the latter years of the 19th century, the prize honors  America’s strongest journalistic and creative work.