Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson is author of The Warmth of Other Suns, the New York Times bestseller that tells the universal story of three people who made the decision of their lives during the Great Migration, a watershed in American history. The book won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the 2011 Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, the 2012 Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize, among others, and was shortlisted for the Pen-Galbraith Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. The book was named to more than 30 Best of the Year lists, including The New York Times' 10 Best Books of the Year, Amazon's 5 Best Books of the Year and Best of the Year lists in The Economist, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, The San Francisco Examiner, Newsday, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Christian Science Monitor, O Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Entertainment Weekly and more than a dozen others. It made news around the world when President Barack Obama took WARMTH to read on vacation late summer 2011. From The Wall Street Journal: “The Warmth of Other Suns is a brilliant and stirring epic. Ms. Wilkerson does for the Great Migration what John Steinbeck did for the Okies in his fiction masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath; she humanizes history, giving it emotional and psychological depth.” From The Los Angeles Times: “Told in a voice that echoes the magic cadences of Toni Morrison or the folk wisdom of Zora Neale Hurston’s collected oral histories, Wilkerson’s book pulls not just the expanse of the migration into focus but its overall impact on politics, literature, music, sports — in the nation and the world.” From the judges of the Lynton History Prize, conferred by Harvard and Columbia universities: “Wilkerson has created a brilliant and innovative paradox: the intimate epic. At its smallest scale, this towering work rests on a trio of unforgettable biographies, lives as humble as they were heroic… In different decades and for different reasons they headed north and west, along with millions of fellow travelers. . . In powerful, lyrical prose that combines the historian’s rigor with the novelist’s empathy, Wilkerson’s book changes our understanding of the Great Migration and indeed of the modern United States.” As told in WARMTH, the Great Migration in the United States was one of the biggest underrecognized stories of the 20th Century and a cautionary tale that breathes life into migration movements across the world, throughout history and into current-day upheavals in countries facing influxes of migration today. The Great Migration in America lasted from 1915 to 1970, involved six million people and was one of the largest internal migrations in U.S. history. It brought us John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Toni Morrison, August Wilson, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Motown, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Denzel Washington, Michelle Obama -- all children or grandchildren of the Great Migration. It changed the cultural and political landscape of the United States, exerting pressure on the South to change and paving the way for the Civil Rights Movement. Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work at The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize. She has lectured on narrative writing at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University and taught at Princeton University, Emory University and Boston University. In her 15 years of working on the book, Wilkerson raced against the clock to reach as many original migrants as she could before it was too late. The result is the intimate, yet sweeping human story of people following their hearts to escape a brutal caste system in the American South and to find freedom within the borders of their own country. Follow Isabel Wilkerson on Facebook:!/pages/Isabel-Wilkerson/140162739346559 or on the web at
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