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Today at the NYS Summer Writers Institute: John McWhorter & Thomas Chatterton Williams

A conversation on "Writing & Talking About Race" with two of the nation's leading cultural critics

Attend the readings using this link Schedule subject to change. For more information, call the NYS Summer Writers Institute at 518-580-5593.

7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12

John McWhorter and Thomas Chatterton Williams: Writing & Talking About Race

John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University, a columnist for the New York Times, a cultural critic, and the author of Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America (2021).

“Scathingly brilliant and strawman-killing from the get-go, Woke Racism will make you stop in your tracks no matter what your politics are—and very possibly reexamine some of your deepest held convictions. Masterfully and beautifully written, this book is a powerful appeal for common sense.” —Amy Chua, professor at Yale Law School and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Political Tribes

His other books include The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black America and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English. In 2016 he published Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally). He also regularly contributes to newspapers and magazines including The New Republic and The Atlantic.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, memoirist and cultural critic, is the author of Self-Portrait in Black and White: Family, Fatherhood, and Rethinking Race (2019).

"[Williams] is so honest and fresh in his observations, so skillful at blending his own story with larger principles, that it is hard not to admire him. At a time of increasing division, his philosophizing evinces an underlying generosity. He reaches both ways across the aisle of racism, arguing above all for reciprocity, and in doing so begins to theorize the temperate peace of which all humanity is sorely in need."

Andrew Solomon, New York Times Book Review (cover)

He has also written Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-hop Culture: Love, Literature, and a Black Man's Escape from the Crowd (2010). A contributing writer at The New York Times, where several of his feature articles have been published in the Sunday Times Magazine, he is also a regular columnist for Harper’s Magazine. In January of 2021 he delivered the Annual Martin Luther King Address, and in 2019 he won the Berlin Prize. Though he lives with his family in France, he is a non-resident Fellow at The American Enterprise Institute and has taught as a visiting professor at Bard College’s Hannah Arendt Center.

Also this week

Wednesday, July 13: Student Reading (Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction)

Thursday, July 14: Rick Moody (Fiction) & Francine Prose (Fiction)

About the NYS Summer Writers Institute

The NYS Summer Writers Institute was founded and is still produced by author and professor Robert Boyers at Skidmore College, with sponsorship from Northshire Bookstores and in collaboration with the NYS Writers Institute at the University at Albany.

Previous visiting writers include Nobel Prize winner Louise Glück, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje, Pulitzer Prize winner and NYS Writers Institute Founder William Kennedy, Mary Gordon, Tom Healy, Margo Jefferson, Binnie Kirshenbaum, John McWhorter, James Miller, Caryl Phillips, Katha Pollitt, Francine Prose and Victoria Redel.


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