Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, authors to join UNA Writer’s Series

Isabel Wilkerson will speak at UNA April 14.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist will be coming to UNA for the 2011 Writer’s Series April 14 to talk about her new book.

Isabel Wilkerson, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for her work as The New York Times’ Chicago bureau chief, will be at UNA to speak to students and faculty about her latest, critically acclaimed book “The Warmth of Other Suns.”

“It’s always nice to bring in a writer from the outside to students,” said Pamela Kingsbury, an English instructor and organizer for the Writer’s Series. “Writer’s don’t live in a castle. They live among us.”

Wilkerson’s new book, “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” focuses on the early 1900s and the migration of many African-Americans from the South to other areas of the United States.

In the book, Wilkerson narrows down the focus to three individuals and follows them through the Great Migration as their lives and surroundings are completely changed.

These three stories, according to Kingsbury, are representative of the Great Migration to show the reader what really happened to African-Americans during their search for jobs and homes.

“She can take the big picture and choose the details of everyone’s stories that represent the big picture,” Kingsbury said.

According to Lisa Minor, a professor of English at UNA, the stories presented in “The Warmth of Other Suns” can be very personal for many African-Americans, including herself.

“It’s a story of my friends, family and relatives,” Minor said. “I know what it is like to be the southern cousin.”

The book is also relevant to many other people as well, according to Minor, because Wilkerson is able to relate the experiences of the three people featured in the book to other people who have left their homes to try and find a better life.

“What Isabel makes certain of is to place it in context of other migrations,” Minor said.

Minor, who will introduce Wilkerson during the Writer’s Series, said that getting Wilkerson to UNA happened very quickly, after Minor’s sister Sherri Smith mentioned that Wilkerson was in her book club.

“I said, ‘You got to read this book,'” Smith said, recalling how she first told Minor about Wilkerson’s new book. “I’m more into fiction, but I still became swept into what was going on. It was like a novel.”

Minor then contacted Kingsbury, and, within a week, Wilkerson was booked to come to UNA.

According to Minor, “The Warmth of Other Suns” is not only a great read, but also a book that could find use in universities across the South, including UNA.

“I think Isabel Wilkerson has written the definitive book on the Great Migration,” Minor said. “It relates to our classes and should be included in them, especially literature and history-and I think it will be.”