Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson is author of The Warmth of Other Suns, the New York Times’ bestseller that 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.
Warmth 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 shortlisted for the 2011 Pen-Galbraith Literary Award for Nonfiction and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
Warmth was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, one of the Five Best Books of the Year by Amazon and made the Best of the Year lists of The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, O Magazine, Publishers Weekly and more than dozen others.
It made news around the world when President Obama chose Warmth for summer reading on Martha’s Vineyard in 2011.
In 2012, The New York Times Magazine named Warmth to its list of the 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.”
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. Wilkerson has also won the George Polk Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.
She has appeared at universities across the country and in Europe and on national programs such as CBS’ 60 Minutes, PBS’s Charlie Rose, NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, NBC’s Nightly News, MSNBC, the BBC, C-SPAN, and others. She has taught narrative nonfiction as Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, as Cox Professor at Emory University and as Professor of Journalism at Boston University.
In her years of research, Wilkerson raced against the clock to reach as many original migrants as she could before it was too late, interviewing more than 1,200 to identify the book’s three main characters. The result is what the judges of the Lynton History Prize, conferred by Harvard and Columbia universities, described thusly:
“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.”
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