Peabody Award-winning host Krista Tippett presents a live, in-person recording of the wildly popular On Being podcast, featuring guest speaker Isabel Wilkerson. Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, has become a leading figure in narrative nonfiction with The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste. Join these two friends and interpreters of the human condition for a night of incredible conversation.
Krista Tippett’s radio show and podcast, On Being, aims to offer the same validity to the subjects of religion and spirituality as we do politics and economics. The show takes up questions of meaning in twenty-first century life, intersecting at spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and the arts. On Being asks the questions, “What does it mean to be human, how do we want to live, and who will we be to each other?” What started on two public radio stations is now heard on 400 across the U.S. The On Being podcast has been downloaded and played over 350 million times.
Live at Benaroya Hall, Tippett will be interviewing Isabel Wilkerson for the On Being podcast. Wilkerson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and a leading figure in narrative nonfiction. An acclaimed author and journalist who brings the invisible and the marginalized into the light and into our hearts, Wilkerson explores with authority the need to reconcile America’s karmic inheritance and the origins of both our divisions and our shared commonality.
Her debut work, The Warmth of Other Suns, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, and the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize.
A book steeped in empathy and insight, Caste explores, through layered analysis and stories of real people, the structure of an unspoken system of human ranking and reveals how our lives are still restricted by what divided us centuries ago. “Modern-day caste protocols,” Wilkerson writes, “are often less about overt attacks or conscious hostility. They are like the wind, powerful enough to knock you down but invisible as they go about their work.”
In Caste, Wilkerson rigorously defines eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, heredity, and dehumanization. She documents the parallels with two other hierarchies in history, those of India and of Nazi Germany, and no reader will be left without a greater understanding of the price we all pay in a society torn by artificial divisions.
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 1994, as Chicago Bureau Chief of the New York Times, making her the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism. She then devoted fifteen years to conducting more than 1,200 interviews, telling the story of the six million people, among them her parents, who defected from the Jim Crow South.