An Interview with Hilton Als

Amherst College Presidential Scholar Program

Amherst College President Michael A. Elliott interviews Hilton Als in anticipation of his Presidential Scholar Residency, February 24–26, 2023. In addition to visiting classes, Als' visit includes participating in LitFest and speaking about his exhibit, “God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin,” in Mead Art Museum. 

The front of Johnson Chapel bathed in deep purple light

Hilton Als in Conversation with Professor Frank Leon Roberts

Sunday, February 26 at 1 pm in Johnson Chapel. The President’s Colloquium on Race and Racism presents Hilton Als in conversation with Frank Leon Roberts. Introductions and remarks by President Michael A. Elliott.

Hilton Als’ Schedule

Thursday, February 23

  • 2:30 - 3:50 p.m. Class Visit: African American Political Thought

Friday, February 24

  • 5:00 p.m. Curator’s Talk: “God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin”
 (Mead Art Museum) 
    Open to the public
  • 6:00 p.m. Reception for National Book Award Authors and Opening of “God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin”
 (Mead Art Museum)

    Open to the public

Saturday, February 25

  • 2:00 p.m. LitFest Craft Talk on curatorial practice with select group of students

Sunday, February 26

  • 1:00 p.m. President’s Colloquium on Race and Racism: Hilton Als in conversation with Professor Frank Leon Roberts, followed by book signing (Johnson Chapel)
    Open to the public

An older, distinguished man in a white shirt with a bookcase in the background
Hilton Als

Pulitzer Prize-winning Essayist & Author

February 24–26, 2023

Als became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1994 and a theater critic in 2002. Week after week, he brings to the magazine a rigorous, sharp, and lyrical perspective on acting, playwriting, and directing. With his deep knowledge of the history of performance—not only in theater but in dance, music, and visual art—he shows us how to view a production and how to place its director, its author, and its performers in the ongoing continuum of dramatic art. His reviews are not simply reviews; they are provocative contributions to the discourse on theater, race, class, sexuality, and identity in America.

Als is the author of the books My Pinup (2022), The Women (1996) and White Girls, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Lambda Literary Award in 2014. He is currently working on a new book titled I Don’t Remember (Penguin, 2023), a book length essay on his experiences in AIDS era New York. Als has curated many shows including “Alice Neel, Uptown,” along with an accompanying book on the artist (2107) as well as “God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin”, a special iteration of the exhibit will be at the Mead Art Museum from February 24 - July 9, 2023.

Als won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2017. Among his many honors, he also was awarded a Guggenheim for creative writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism in 2002. 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.

(Photo credit Rivkah Gevinson)