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About Isabel Wilkerson
Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, is the author the critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers The Warmth of Other Suns, and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.
Her first book, The Warmth of Other Suns, tells the story of the Great Migration, a watershed in American history. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize and was shortlisted for both the Pen-Galbraith Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
WARMTH 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 New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and The Economist, among others. In 2019, TIME Magazine named Warmth to its list of the10 best books of the decade.
Her second book, CASTE: The Origins of Our Discontents, explores the unrecognized hierarchy in America, its history and its consequences. Caste became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, was the 2020 summer/fall selection for Oprah’s Book Club and was longlisted for the National Book Award. It was named to more best of the year lists than any other work of nonfiction and was named the No. 1 book of 2020 across all genres by the industry arbiter, Publishers Marketplace.
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 and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal for "championing the stories of an unsung history."
She has appeared on national programs such as "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," CBS's "60 Minutes," NBC's "Nightly News," "The PBS News Hour," MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell," “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” NPR's "On Being with Krista Tippett," the BBC and others. She has taught at Princeton, Emory and Boston universities and has lectured at more than 200 other colleges and universities across the U.S. and in Europe and Asia.
Follow @isabelwilkerson on Instagram and Twitter. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IsabelWilkersonWriter/
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THE TIME NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
'Required reading for all of humanity' Oprah Winfrey
'It could not have come at a more urgent time' Fatima Bhutto, Guardian
'An instant American classic' Dwight Garner, The New York Times
'The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power - which groups have it and which do not'
Beyond race or class, our lives are defined by a powerful, unspoken system of divisions. In Caste, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson gives an astounding portrait of this hidden phenomenon. Linking America, India and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson reveals how our world has been shaped by caste - and how its rigid, arbitrary hierarchies still divide us today.
With clear-sighted rigour, Wilkerson unearths the eight pillars that connect caste systems across civilizations, and demonstrates how our own era of intensifying conflict and upheaval has arisen as a consequence of caste. Weaving in stories of real people, she shows how its insidious undertow emerges every day; she documents its surprising health costs; and she explores its effects on culture and politics. Finally, Wilkerson points forward to the ways we can - and must - move beyond its artificial divisions, towards our common humanity.
Beautifully written and deeply original, Caste is an eye-opening examination of what lies beneath the surface of ordinary lives. No one can afford to ignore the moral clarity of its insights, or its urgent call for a freer, fairer world.
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'A landmark piece of non-fiction' Janet Maslin, The New York Times
From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is one of the great untold stories of American history: the migration of black citizens who fled the south and went north in search of a better life
From 1915 to 1970, an exodus of almost six million people would change the face of America. With stunning historical detail, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson gives us this definitive, vividly dramatic account of how these journeys unfolded.
Based on interviews with more than a thousand people, and access to new data and official records, The Warmth of Other Suns tells the story of America's Great Migration through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career.
Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country journeys, as well as how they changed their new homes forever.
'You will never forget these people' Gay Talese
'A brilliant and stirring epic' John Stauffer, Wall Street Journal
'The mass migration of African Americans out of the US south forever changed the country's cultural fabric - and Wilkerson's history of this period is full of sacrifice and hope ... a long overdue account' Lettecha Johnson, Guardian
'A deeply affecting, finely crafted and heroic book. . . .Wilkerson has taken on one of the most important demographic upheavals of the past century and told it through the lives of three people ... lyrical and tragic' Jill Lepore, New Yorker
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