Isabel Wilkerson, the New York Times' Chicago bureau chief, earned the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 1994 for her reporting. She was the first black woman and the first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize for solo reporting in the history of American journalism. For her coverage of the Midwest, she received the George Polk Award, and for her research on the Great Migration, she received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She's given talks on narrative writing at Harvard University's Nieman Foundation, and she's been the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University and the James M. Emory University's Cox Jr Professor of Journalism
She is currently the Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University and a Professor of Journalism. Her parents moved from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington, D.C., where she was born and raised, during the Great Migration. This is her debut novel.