Critic, author Hilton Als wins CCNY’s Langston Hughes Medal

Hilton Als, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic with “The New Yorker,” adds another honor to his name when he receives the Langston Hughes Medal at The City College of New York on Thursday, Nov. 15.

The medal is awarded to highly distinguished writers from throughout the African American diaspora at CCNY's annual Langston Hughes Festival, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It recognizes honorees for their impressive works of poetry, fiction, drama, autobiography and critical essays that help to celebrate the memory and tradition of Langston Hughes. Past award winners include: James Baldwin;

  • Gwendolyn Brooks;
  • Toni Morrison;
  • August Wilson;
  • Maya Angelou; and
  • Octavia Butler.

Als, who’s written for The New Yorker since 1989, is the author of “The Women.” His most recent book, “White Girls,” won the Lambda Literary Award in 2014 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Als won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2017. His other accolades include a Guggenheim for creative writing (2000) and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism (2002-03). In 2016, he received Lambda Literary’s Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature.

A symposium on Als’ work, 12:30 p.m. in CCNY’s Aaron Davis Hall kicks off the award program. The talk features Thelma Golden, head of The Studio Museum in Harlem; Pulitzer winning critic and author Margo Jefferson, and CCNY faculty members Boukary Sawadogo and Salar Abdoh.

Vanessa K. Valdés, author and associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese at CCNY, will moderate the discussion on the significance of Als' work. Click here to get a free ticket.

The discussion will be followed by a free screening at 3:30 p.m. of Isaac Julien’s “Looking for Langston.” Als collaborated on the script for this landmark film. Click here for tickets.

The award ceremony, at 6:30 p.m. in Aaron Davis Hall, includes a reading by Als, a conversation between him and writer Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, and a performance by special musical guest Helga Davis. Click here for a free ticket.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its role at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility indexThis measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.2% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight professional schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself.  View CCNY Media Kit.


Jay Mwamba
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