Salamishah Tillet of Rutgers University-Newark Wins the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism

Salamishah Tillet, the Henry Rutgers Professor of Creative Writing and African American and African Studies at Rutgers University-Newark in New Jersey, has been selected as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. She is being honored for her commentaries in The New York Times on “Black stories in art and popular culture – work that successfully bridges academic and nonacademic critical discourse.”

Professor Tillet is also the director of Express Newark, the Center for Socially Engaged Art and Design at Rutgers. Earlier in her career, Dr. Tillet was the Robert S. Blank Presidential Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Tillet is a contributing critic at large for The New York Times, where she has written about popular culture, gender, sexuality, and race since 2015. Before joining The Times, she wrote about politics and culture for The Nation and The Root. She is the author of In Search of the Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece (Abrams, 2021) and Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination (Duke University Press, 2012).

Professor Tillet is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in English and African American studies. She holds a master’s degree in English education from Brown University, as well as a master’s degree in English and American literature and a Ph.D. in American studies from Harvard University.

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