Arts & Humanities Campus News Society & Culture

Noted author and drama critic Hilton Als to speak at UGA

Athens, Ga. – Hilton Als, staff writer and drama critic at The New Yorker, will read from his work on Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. in the M. Smith Griffith Auditorium of the Georgia Museum of Art. The reading, part of the University of Georgia Institute for African American Studies’ fall lecture series, is free and open to the public.

Als began work as staff writer at The New Yorker in 1994 and became its theatre critic in 2002. His writing has appeared in the Village Voice and The Nation. He served as an editor-at-large at Vibe and collaborated on film scripts for “Swoon” and “Looking for Langston.”

In 1997, the New York Association of Black Journalists awarded Als first prize in both magazine critique/review and magazine arts and entertainment. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002-03. In 2009, Als worked with performer Justin Bond on “Cold Water”—an exhibition of paintings, drawings and videos by performers—at La MaMa Gallery. In 2010, he co-curated “Self-Consciousness” at the Veneklasen Werner Gallery in Berlin and published “Justin Bond/Jackie Curtis,” his second book.

Hilton Als’ most recent book, “White Girls,” received the LAMBDA Literary Award for LGBT Nonfiction and was a 2013 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

“By its title, ‘White Girls,’ Als’ new book both does and doesn’t refer to actual girls, or women, who are white,” said Ed Pavlić, professor of English and creative writing at UGA. “In essays that touch on the worlds of literature, film, fashion and popular culture, Als creates a daring pastiche, a portrait where all the supposed-to-be sacrosanct, would-be-airtight containers (racial, sexual, psychological, formal) in the American Tupperware Party of Apartheid lose themselves in each other in order to find themselves in themselves.”

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning author and MacArthur Fellow Junot Díaz, “I read Als not only because he is utterly extraordinary, which he is, but for the reason one is often drawn to the best writers-because one has a sense that one’s life might depend on them. ‘White Girls’ is a book, a dream, an enemy, a friend and, yes, the read of the year.”

Als has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan University and Smith College. He lives in New York City.

Als’ reading at UGA is co-sponsored by the President’s Venture Fund, Institute for African American Studies, the English department’s Lanier Speaker Series and the Creative Writing Program in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.