BLACKSBURG, Va., March 14, 2013 – Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson will lecture and read from her prize-winning book, “The Warmth of Other Suns,” on Tuesday, March 19, at 5 p.m. in Hillcrest Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
“We are proud to present Isabel Wilkerson to our students,” said Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor of English. “Her book is an in-depth and powerful history of the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance.”
Wilkerson, who spent most of her career as a national correspondent and bureau chief at The New York Times, is the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in the history of American journalism and was the first black American to win for individual reporting. Inspired by her own parents’ migration, she devoted 15 years to research and writing, interviewed more than 1,200 people, unearthed archival works, and gathered the voices of the famous and the unknown to tell the story of the relocation of an entire people in “The Warmth of Other Suns.”
The New York Times’ bestseller brings to life one of the epic stories of the 20th Century through three unforgettable protagonists who made the decision of their lives during what came to be known as the Great Migration.
Wilkerson’s book won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the 2011 Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the 2011 Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the 2011 Hillman Book Prize, the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize, the Independent Literary Award for Nonfiction, the Horace Mann Bond Book Award from Harvard University, the New England Book Award for Nonfiction, the Hurston Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction, the NAACP Image Award for best literary debut and was short-listed for the 2011 Pen-Galbraith Literary Award for Nonfiction and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
In 2012, The New York Times Magazine named "The Warmth of Other Suns" to its list of All-Time Best Books of Nonfiction. In early 2013, The New York Times Book Review declared that Warmth “was published only two years ago, but it shows every indication of becoming a classic.”
President Barack Obama selected "Warmth of Other Suns" for summer reading on Martha’s Vineyard in 2011.
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994. She has also won the George Polk Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.
Wilkerson’s visit is being sponsored by the Department of English and University Honors.