University of Pittsburgh
September 21, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 22 -- Alex Kotlowitz, author of the recently published "The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death and America's Dilemma," will be the second featured writer at the University of Pittsburgh's Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 8:15 p.m. in 125 Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Schenley Drive.

His book, which received The Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Non-Fiction, is praised by the New York Times: "Of all the many books written about race in America in the past couple of years, none has been quite like 'The Other Side of the River' . . . It is the difference between the two towns, one white, one black, that anchors this story, gives it its soul, and makes it important, essential even, for the rest of us to contemplate."

Kotlowitz also is the author of the best-selling "There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America." The book, which was published in 1991, was the recipient of numerous awards including the Helen B. Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Carl Sandburg Award and a Christopher Award. The New York Public Library selected "There Are No Children Here" as one of the 150 most important books of the century. In the fall of 1993, it was adapted for television as an ABC Movie-of-the-Week starring Oprah Winfrey.

Kotlowitz continues to write and speak on issues concerning race and poverty, including appearances on college campuses and articles in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Rolling Stone, The New Republic and The New Yorker.

Most recently, Kotlowitz was a writer-in-residence at Northwestern University. He has also been a Distinguished Visitor at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. From 1984 until 1993, he worked as a staff writer at The Wall Street Journal, writing on urban affairs and social policy. Prior to joining the Journal, he freelanced for five years, contributing to the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, National Public Radio and magazines.

His journalism honors include the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the George Polk Award. He received two honorary degrees and the John LaFarge Memorial Award for Interracial Justice given by New York's Catholic Interracial Council.

Kotlowitz, whose first journalism job was with The Lansing Star, a weekly in Lansing, Michigan, also worked as a community organizer in Atlanta in the mid-1970s.

A graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, Kotlowitz grew up in New York City. He lives with his family outside Chicago.

The "Contemporary Writers Series" is co-sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh's English Department, Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, Africana Studies Program, The Book Center, and the Wyndham Garden.