Isabel Wilkerson, the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in the history of journalism, will be speaking at the University of North Alabama (in Florence, Alabama) at 12:30 PM, Thursday, April 14. Wilkerson will talk about her recent book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration.
Wilkerson, who is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Fiction at Boston University, spent fifteen years researching the book and interviewed more than1200 people who had made the migration from the South to Northern and Western cities. Wilkerson was inspired to write The Warmth of Other Suns by her own parents who, in addition to some six million other black Americans, made the epic journey. Her parents journeyed from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington, D.C., where Wilkerson was born and reared. (photo by Joe Henson)
In 1994, when Wilkerson was the Chicago Bureau Chief of the New York Times she won the Pulitzer prize in Journalism for her coverage of the 1992 midwestern floods and her profile of a 10-year-old boy who was responsible for his four siblings. She has also won a George S. Polk award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Journalist of the Year award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
The Warmth of Other Suns, which Gay Talese called "a seminal work of narrative fiction," chronicles the decades-long migration (from WW I through the 1970s) of African-Americans from the South to the North and West through the stories of three individuals and their families. Toni Morrison called The Warmth of Other Suns "profound, necessary, and an absolute delight to read." Critics feel that Wilkerson's work, like that of Taylor Branch and J. Anthony Lukas, will stand as a classic of narrative journalism and of modern American history.
In March of this year, Wilkerson received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Click here watch a video of Wilkerson on Footnote (Ebru television).
April 14, 2011, marks the 28th anniversary of UNA's annual Writers Symposium. The event will be held in the Guillot Center at UNA and a signing and reception will follow.
-----Penne J. Laubenthal