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Hilton Als: 'The Birth of Tragedy'
Thu 4 May 2017, 17:00 – 18:30 BST
The 2017 Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in American Arts and Letters
Hilton Als is one of the most influential and innovative critics now writing. He is a critic whose work refuses to adhere to the conventions of criticism. His characteristic form, as the New York Review of Books explains, ‘is a kind of essay in which biography, memoir, and literary criticism flow into one another as if it were perfectly natural that they should.’ Alongside his work as The New Yorker's theatre critic, Als’s stunning writing ranges across a vast array of contemporary aesthetic forms. Again and again, he attends with particular richness to race, sexuality and the varieties of American experience.
Als has been on staff at The New Yorker since 1994, before which he wrote for the Village Voice and was editor-at-large at Vibe. He has won prominent awards from the New York Association of Black Journalists, along with a George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism in 2003. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in creative writing in 2000. He has more recently been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for his second book, White Girls (2014) and for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism in 2016. He currently teaches at Columbia, and has also taught at Yale, Wesleyan, and Smith.