2023 Stern Lecture speaker: Isabel Wilkerson

CINCINNATI The Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library will bring Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Humanities Medal, to Cincinnati for the Mary S. Stern Lecture on October 5 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. The lecture is specifically designed to bring the top thought leaders to the area and make them accessible to our community. 

Wilkerson will discuss her critically acclaimed, bestselling book, “The Warmth of Other Suns” and also touch on her newer book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” With her captivating storytelling and meticulous research of the Great Migration, Wilkerson will delve into the intricate dynamics of race, identity and social hierarchies.  

"On behalf of the Mary S. Stern Lecture Committee, I am pleased to announce Isabel Wilkerson as the next speaker in the Mary S. Stern Lecture Series. My mom's vision was to bring important thought leaders to Cincinnati - and make them accessible to as many people as possible," Peter J. Stern, M.D., Chairman of the Mary S. Stern Lecture Committee and Library Foundation board member, said. "Wilkerson captures this vision through her thought-provoking books." 

Tickets will go on sale this August. 


Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her deeply humane narrative writing while serving as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first Black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African American to win for individual reporting. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Wilkerson the National Humanities Medal for "championing the stories of an unsung history." 


The late Mary S. Stern endowed an annual lecture series for the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library through The Library Foundation to support bringing internationally renowned thought leaders to our community. The Stern Lecture selection committee (Tony Covatta, Vicky and Rick Reynolds, Betsy Sittenfeld, and Sandy and Peter Stern) was formed in 2018 to select and invite lecturers who can honor Stern’s legacy by advancing the Library’s mission to connect our community with a world of ideas and information. The committee is committed to making the topic and speaker accessible to the community physically and financially.   

    The Library Foundation of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is dedicated to ensuring a great Library system by raising, managing and allocating funds to expand and enhance the collections, programs and services of the Library. For more information and to donate, visit SupportCHPL.org.

  Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library has been cultivating curiosity from the moment we first opened our doors in 1853. Since then, we have evolved into one of the biggest and busiest libraries in the country: supporting minds of all kinds who seek to unlock their full potential. With 41 neighborhood branches, a vast range of programming, and ever-growing collection of virtual resources, we're proud to be a place where everyone can learn without limits. To learn more, visit CHPL.org or call 513-369-6900.