This week, CalArts welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author Hilton Als as its 2022 Katie Jacobson Writer-in-Residence. Organized by the MFA Creative Writing Program in the School of Crtitical Studies, the Katie Jacobson Writer in Residence Program is designed to bring a prestigious writer to campus for a public reading and a classroom visit, and to meet with students one-to-one.
On Thursday, Feb. 24, Als makes the first of his presentations at CalArts, an interview with author Brian Evenson, CalArts’ Creative Writing Program Director. On Friday, Feb. 25, this year’s public reading will return live at REDCAT in downtown Los Angeles, after being held virtuall last year, with a streaming option available for at-home and online audiences. On the REDCAT stage, Als reads from a curated set of new and previous works, infused with the arresting insights and rigorous style for which he is known.
“We’re delighted to have Hilton Als as this year’s Katie Jacobson Writer-in-Residence,” said Evenson. “Als is one of our most versatile and nimble contemporary non-fiction writers, and his writings stretch from memoir to theater criticism to art criticism, touching on all points in between. His work is dynamic and surprising, breaking boundaries and rules in the best and most startling of ways.”
The author of two acclaimed collections of essays, Als’ writings are provocative contributions to the discourse on the arts, race, class, sexuality, and identity in America. His conversations with and about visual artists and his work as a playwright and cultural critic invigorate the understanding of desire, vulnerability, and artistic practice by insisting that people, in Roxane Gay’s words, “question almost everything.”
With his weekly theater reviews for The New Yorker, and in White Girls, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014 and winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Nonfiction, Als simultaneously shows readers how to place director, author, and performers in the ongoing continuum of dramatic art and how to critically view the individual in the ongoing continuum of life.
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.