Thanks to the cooperation of the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) and The School of Writing at The New School, as well as the tireless efforts of our students and faculty, we are able to provide interviews with each of the NBCC Awards Finalists for the publishing year 2013.
Ricky Tucker, on behalf of the School of Writing at The New School and the NBCC, interviewed Hilton Als, via phone, about his book White Girls (McSweeney's), which is among the final five selections, in the category of Criticism, for the 2013 NBCC awards.
From the Publisher: White Girls, Hilton Als’s first book since The Women seventeen 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, Malcolm X and Flannery O’Connor. In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and non-fiction, 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.
Hilton Als became a staff writer at The New Yorker in October, 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. He has also written articles for The Nation and collaborated on film scripts for "Swoon" and "Looking for Langston." Als edited the catalogue for the Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition entitled "Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art," which ran from November, 1994, to March, 1995. His first book, The Women, a meditation on gender, race, and personal identity, was published in 1996. 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 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, his second book. Als has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College. He lives in New York City.
Ricky Tucker is a fiction writer, art critic, and North Carolina native. He is a Riggio Scholar, Editor-In-Chief of 12th Street Journal, and a 2013 Public Engagement Fellow. His work often explores the imprints of art on narrative and the subjectivity of memory. He has contributed to the New England art journal, Big Red and Shiny, the fashion and culture site Ironing Board Collective, and most recently The Paris Review Daily. If presented the opportunity, he knows exactly what he’d say to Mary J. Blige.