Colson Whitehead Named New York State Author - 27 East

Arts & Living

Arts & Living / 1330183

Colson Whitehead Named New York State Author

icon 1 Photo

author on Aug 15, 2018

Colson Whitehead, the author of acclaimed novels “Sag Harbor” and “The Underground Railroad,” has been named New York’s 11th State Author.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that Mr. Whitehead will receive the New York State Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction Writers and hold the title of New York State Author from 2018 to 2020.

The official inauguration ceremony will be held on Friday, September 28, at the University at Albany and include readings by Mr. Whitehead and Alicia Ostriker, who was named State Poet.

“New York has long been an epicenter for arts and culture, and this award celebrates some of the state’s most talented and influential writers in their respective fields,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “I’m proud to name renowned writer Colson Whitehead and acclaimed poet Alicia Ostriker for the prestigious positions of State Author and State Poet, recognizing their collective body of work and the impact it has had on the people of New York and beyond.”

Mr. Whitehead was born in 1969 and raised in Manhattan, though his family summers in Sag Harbor. Last year, he purchased a home in East Hampton with his wife, literary agent Julie Barer.

He is a Harvard College graduate and an alumnus of The Village Voice, where he wrote reviews of television, books, and music. His reviews, essays, and fiction have also appeared in the The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta.

He is the author of six novels, “The Underground Railroad” being his most recent. It is a fantastical story that takes the idea of an underground railroad in pre-Civil War American literally. It became a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller and a selection of the Oprah Book Club, and received the National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Carnegie Medal for Fiction, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Hurston/Wright Fiction Award and Heartland Prize.

Mr. Whitehead has taught at the University of Houston, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, New York University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, and been a writer-in-residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond, and the University of Wyoming.

The governor’s office noted that the advisory panel that recommended Mr. Whitehead as State Author included the novelist Claire Messud; novelist and Executive Director of the New York State Writers Institute William Kennedy; New York State Writers Institute Assistant Director Mark Koplik; and two University at Albany undergraduate students, Deyshawn Clarke-Wells and Elise Coombs, who were assigned to spend a number of months consulting with Unuveristy of Albany faculty, students and the literary community-at-large, and to reflect the will of that “constituency” in casting their ballots.

Mr. Whitehead succeeds Edmund White. The past State Authors are Allison Lurie, Mary Gordon, Russell Banks, Kurt Vonnegut, James Salter, Peter Matthiessen, William Gaddis, Norman Mailer, E. L. Doctorow and Grace Paley.

You May Also Like:

Duck Creek Online Jazz Series Finds Audience-Free Stage In Brooklyn

When Adam Kolker improvises a jazz solo, he finds freedom in the rhythm — unconfined ... 18 Jan 2021 by Michelle Trauring

Winter Long Island Restaurant Week Is Here

With all the uncertainty surrounding when restaurants will be able to fully reopen, those longing ... by Staff Writer

Taylor Barton: ‘I Pitched A Tent In Hell’

Folk rock artist Taylor Barton’s catalog contains over 500 songs, including a dozen albums, from ... by Kelly Ann Smith

Guided Walking Tour of ‘Field of Dreams’ and Scott Bluedorn’s ‘Bonac Blind’

On Friday, January 22, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., the Parrish Art Museum’s chief curator, ... by Staff Writer

The Watermill Center’s Winter Viewpoints Series Wraps Up

The Watermill Center’s final Winter Viewpoints program on Wednesday, January 27, will feature Watermill alumni, ... by Staff Writer

Review: ‘How Did I Get Here?’ By Bruce McCall

Can this no-nonsense, modest, if not at times diffident, memoir “How Did I Get Here?” by Bruce McCall be the last we’ll see or hear from this talented guy? The artist, illustrator and writer is best known for his over four-decade association with The New Yorker, doing more than 75 covers and many more “Shouts and Murmurs” humor columns. McCall lived for a while in Amagansett and rented in Wainscott, about the time he joined the wacky, witty world of the original Harvard Lampoon, “the first seriously post-stupid comedy forum of the era,” which made satire “a viable presence and ... by Joan Baum

‘East End Collected’ Is Back At Southampton Arts Center

Southampton Arts Center is returning with “East End Collected,” an exhibition now in its sixth ... by Staff Writer

These Are ‘Graphic Times’ For Jules Feiffer

American cartoonist Jules Feiffer is considered the most widely read satirist in the country. In ... by Staff Writer

Gather With The Change-Makers

“Gather,” a series of conversations led by Black and Indigenous change-makers in Suffolk County, begins ... by Staff Writer

Exploring Art As Ecosystem

As multi-dimensional members of the art ecosystem, artists Eric Fischl of The Church, Stephen Petronio ... by Staff Writer
logo

Welcome to our new website!

To see what’s new, click “Start the Tour” to take a tour.

We welcome your feedback. Please click the
“contact/advertise” link in the menu bar to email us.

Start the Tour
Landscape view not supported