A scholar, writer and activist, Salamishah Tillet is the Henry Rutgers Professor of Creative Writing and Africana Studies as well as the executive director of Express Newark, a centre for socially engaged art and design at Rutgers University – Newark. She is a contributing critic-at-large for the New York Times (2015–present). With her sister, Scheherazade Tillet, she founded A Long Walk Home, an arts organisation that empowers young people to end violence against girls and women.

Tillet is the author of Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post–Civil Rights Imagination (Duke University Press, 2012) and In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece (Abrams Press, 2021). She co-hosted and co-produced (with Cindi Leive) the Webby award-winning Because of Anita, a podcast about the impact of Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 (Pineapple Studios, 2021), which won a Webby Award and Gracie Award.

She was awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism for essays examining race and Black perspectives as the arts and entertainment world responded to the Black Lives Matter moment with new works.
Her grants and fellowships include the 2020 Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction fellowship for her forthcoming cultural biography, All the Rage: Mississippi Goddam and the World Nina Simone Made (Ecco, forthcoming) and the Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for her next project, In Lieu of the Law: ‘Me Too’ and the Politics of Justice, a cultural history of the world’s largest social media movement (2021).

Tillet received her Bachelor of Arts in English and African American Studies and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania (1996); Master of Arts in Teaching in English from Brown University (1997) and Master of Art in English (2002) and a PhD in American Studies from Harvard University (2007).

Born in 1975 in Boston, she currently lives and works in Newark, New Jersey.

SAF participation:
March Meeting 2023

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March Meeting 2023

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