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Hey, How'd You Write a New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller, Isabel Wilkerson?

Inside the making of The Warmth of Other Suns

- February 25, 2013

More than 15 years of research, at least 1,200 interviews and hundreds upon hundreds of travel miles -- that was the investment Isabel Wilkerson made in writing The Warmth of Other Suns. The book was released in 2010 to fanfare from critics who lauded its marriage of historical accuracy and humanity. And readers weren't scared off by its 600-plus pages, pushing it to the top of the venerable list of New York Times bestsellers.

That's largely thanks to Wilkerson's background in narrative journalism. The Warmth of Other Suns tells the stories of men and women who lived through the Great Migration, when 6 million African-Americans moved from their homes in the South to new promise in the North.

"If I'd have known it was going to take 15 years, I don't know that I would've even tried it," admits Wilkerson, who is the first black female journalist to win the Pulitzer Prize. "But by that time, I had to finish it. I had to push through."


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