Hilton Als
Hilton Als became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1994 and a theatre critic in 2002. He began contributing to the magazine in 1989, writing pieces for The Talk of the Town.
Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. Als edited the catalogue for the 1994-95 Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art.” His first book, “The Women,” was published in 1996. His most recent book, “White Girls,” a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Lambda Literary Award in 2014, discusses various narratives of race and gender. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2017.
In 1997, the New York Association of Black Journalists awarded Als first prize in both Magazine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment. He was awarded a Guggenheim for creative writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002-03. In 2016, he received Lambda Literary’s Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature.
In 2009, Als worked with the 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.” In 2015, he collaborated with the artist Celia Paul to create “Desdemona for Celia by Hilton,” an exhibition for the Metropolitan Opera’s Gallery Met. “Alice Neel, Uptown,” which Als curated in 2017, was selected by three of Artforum’s critics as one of the ten best shows of the year. His accompanying book on the artist was also widely praised.
Als is an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College. He lives in New York City.
All Work
Culture Desk
The Visual Maelstrom of Brett Goodroad
The artist maps nature and his own consciousness.
By Hilton AlsJuly 21, 2021
Photo Booth
Love on the Run in Stephen Barker’s Photographs
A world of bodies at Club 82.
By Hilton AlsJune 27, 2021
The Art WorldApril 26 & May 3, 2021 Issue
Alice Neel’s Portraits of Difference
A retrospective at the Met shows the artist’s deep feeling for all that she is not.
By Hilton AlsApril 19, 2021
On TelevisionApril 12, 2021 Issue
A New Hemingway Documentary Peeks Behind the Myth
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s film examines the burden of the author’s performance of himself.
By Hilton AlsApril 5, 2021
PerformanceMarch 1, 2021 Issue
Acting Black and White Onscreen
Race as a performance in “Passing” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”
By Hilton AlsFebruary 22, 2021
BooksFebruary 15 & 22, 2021 Issue
Tove Ditlevsen’s Art of Estrangement
The Danish memoirist built a literature of disaster, brick by brick.
By Hilton AlsFebruary 8, 2021
PerformanceDecember 21, 2020 Issue
Reimagining August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” on the Small Screen
Viola Davis plays the blues singer, whose wounds live right next to her cynicism.
By Hilton AlsDecember 14, 2020
On TelevisionNovember 23, 2020 Issue
Royal Competition in “The Crown”
The show depicts not only how the Empire has crumbled but its descent into a kind of domestic crumminess.
By Hilton AlsNovember 15, 2020
Personal HistoryJune 29, 2020 Issue
My Mother’s Dreams for Her Son, and All Black Children
She longed for black people in America not to be forever refugees—confined by borders that they did not create and by a penal system that killed them before they died.
By Hilton AlsJune 21, 2020
BooksApril 6, 2020 Issue
Carolyn Forché’s Education in Looking
In our deeply bifurcated world, the poet’s best work engages in a dialectic in which the truth of experience burns as brightly as her intuition and imagination.
By Hilton AlsMarch 30, 2020
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