Pitt Hosts Social Commentator, Writer Hilton Als

Issue Date: 
January 27, 2014

Described as “fearsomely brilliant” by the Chicago Tribune, Hilton Als—a nonfiction writer, social commentator, and theater critic—will deliver a reading from his award-winning works of literature at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 27 in the University of Pittsburgh’s Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. The free, public event is part of the University’s 2013-14 Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series.

AlsHilton Als is the author of the recently released, critically acclaimed nonfiction book White Girls (McSweeney’s Publishing, 2013). The book has received praise in such notable publications as The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Journal of Books, among others, for its fresh commentary on matters related to gender, race, and sexuality. Als also is the author of The Women (Macmillan Publishers, 1996) and was a contributing essayist to the book Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (Twin Palms Publishers, 2000).

“Hilton Als is one of the most stylish, original, and idiosyncratic writers in America,” said Pitt English Professor Peter Trachtenberg, who reviewed White Girls for the Los Angeles Review of Books. “He writes about the interstices of race, gender, desire, and taste, and from within them. In doing so, he makes the old binaries of black and white, male and female, gay and straight seem as obsolete as a VHS tape.”

Als joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 1994, and was named the theater critic in 2002. Previously, he had served as a staff writer for The Village Voice as well as the editor-at-large for Vibe magazine. His work has appeared in such publications as The Nation, The Believer, and The New York Review of Books. Als also served as the catalogue editor for the exhibition Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art, which appeared at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Als’s honors and distinctions include the 2004 Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin, the 2002-03 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and a Guggenheim Fellowship for creative writing in 2000.

A resident of New York City, Als has taught at Smith College, Wesleyan University, and Yale University.

The University of Pittsburgh Writing Program and University Store on Fifth cosponsor the 2013-14 Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series season. For more information, visit www.pghwriterseries.wordpress.com