Journalist Isabel Wilkerson will speak about The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration – the current "One Book, One Chicago" selection – today, Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in the Winter Garden on the 9th Floor of the Harold Washington Library Center (HWLC), located at 400 South State Street in downtown Chicago. Doors to the Winter Garden open at 4:30 p.m.
Guests arriving prior to 4:30 p.m. will line up on the 1st Floor, in the Congress Corridor, where free tickets will be distributed when the doors to the venue open. The tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis, one ticket per person. After 4:45 p.m., tickets will be available on the 9th Floor at the Winter Garden entrance.
Isabel Wilkerson’s book – a National Book Critics Circle Award winner – is a work of contemporary (recent) history. It tells the story of approximately 6,000,000 African-Americans who during the 20th Century fled the South for a new and uncertain life in Northern cities, including Chicago. Random House published the book in 2010.
Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, whose novel A Mercy was the Chicago Public Library’s 19th selection for “One Book, One Chicago,” called The Warmth of Other Suns, “Profound, necessary and an absolute delight to read.” Professor Cornel West opined, “Isabel Wilkerson’s book is a masterful narrative of the rich wisdom and deep courage of a great people. Don’t miss it!”
Tom Brokaw, the anchor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004 and author of The Greatest Generation, wrote, “The Warmth of Other Suns is a sweeping and yet deeply personal tale of America’s hidden 20th century history – the long and difficult trek of Southern blacks to the northern and western cities. This is an epic for all Americans who want to understand the making of our modern nation.”
“Join the author to hear more about the thousands of people she interviewed over a decade in writing this stunning and unforgettable book,” states the CPL. For this book, Ms. Wilkerson interviewed 1,200 people, making it, in part, a work of oral history, although she also did archival research.
Ms. Wilkerson is both the first Black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first Black journalist to win the Pulitzer Prize for a work of individual reporting. [The first Black writer to win a Pulitzer Prize in any category was the poetess Gwendolyn Brooks, who won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for "Annie Allen."] In addition, she 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 U.S. and in Europe and on national programs such as CBS’ 60 Minutes (CBS), PBS’s Charlie Rose (PBS), Fresh Air with Terry Gross (NPR), NBC Nightly News, as well as on 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.
The Warmth of Other Suns 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 a dozen others.
It made news around the world when President Barack H. Obama, Jr. chose The Warmth of Other Suns for summer reading on Martha’s Vineyard in 2011. The next year, The New York Times Magazine named The Warmth of Other Suns 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.”
On Friday, September 6, 2013, Ms. Wilkerson wrote on her Web site, “Chicago, one of the great receiving stations of the Great Migration, has chosen WARMTH as the One Book/One Chicago Read for 2013/2014. Many thanks to the Chicago Public Library and to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, for devoting a full year to the enduring themes of freedom and social justice embodied by this migration. Looking forward to a continuing celebration of the culture and history of a movement that changed America.”
Seating in the Winter Garden is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Early arrival is recommended. Once we reach capacity, seating will no longer be available. Books will be available for purchase and the author will sign books immediately following the program. Limit of two books signed per person.