Thursday, November 20

Harvard Book Store Presents (Past Events)Special Events Archive

Hilton Als

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Hilton Als discusses White Girls in conversation with Jamaica Kincaid

This event includes a book signing.

$5 Tickets on sale now at Harvard.com. Unable to attend? Order the book(s) or pre-order a signed copy from Harvard Book Store. No Brattle Passes.

Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning author of The Women HILTON ALS and renowned literary figure JAMAICA KINCAID for a discussion of Als’ latest book, White Girls, new to paperback.

White Girls, Hilton Als’s first book since The Women 16 years ago, finds one of The New Yorker‘s boldest cultural critics deftly weaving together his brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history. The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of “white girls,” as Als dubs them—an expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Michael Jackson and Flannery O’Connor. In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal, Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and an invaluable guide to the culture of our time.

“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.” —Junot Díaz

“Als is pyrotechnic, lifting off the page in a blast of stinging light and concussive booms that somehow coalesce into profound cultural and psychological illuminations. More covertly scorching is the long, wrenching essay ‘Tristes Tropiques,’ an exploration of love and friendship, fear and fascination during the AIDS epidemic. Whether his subject is his mother, himself, or seminal artists, Als is a fine, piercing observer and interpreter, a writer of lashing exactitude and veracity.” —Booklist

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Before working at The New Yorker, Hilton Als was a staff writer for The Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. He has also written articles for The Nation and collaborated on film scripts for Swoon and Looking for Langston. The winner of writing awards from the New York Association of Black Journalists and the Guggenheim Foundation, he lives in New York City.


Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. John’s, Antigua. Her books include At the Bottom of the RiverAnnie JohnLucyThe Autobiography of My MotherMy Brother, and Mr. Potter. She lives with her family in Vermont.