The New Yorker’s Fil-Am writer Jia Tolentino wins 2020 Whiting Awards for Non-Fiction

Jia Tolentino
Fil-Am writer Jia Tolentino says the blessing in the midst of the crisis wants her to pay it forward. Photo courtesy of Whiting Awards.

The New Yorker’s Filipino-American writer, Jia Tolentino, has won the 2020 Whiting Awards for Non-Fiction.

Tolentino was among the ten writers who were announced on March 26, 2020, as winners of the 2020 Whiting Awards supported by the Whiting Foundation.

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Jia Tolentino was cited by the Whiting Awards Selection Committee for being an extraordinary chronicler of human history.

“Jia Tolentino is more than a chronicler of our particular moment; she is our critic and translator, a decoder who can see the profound in the ordinary,” Whiting Foundation said.

“Her debut collection of essays is a marvel, a book that captures what seems unknowable about the internet and what it is to grow up in its orbit, to become misshapen and seduced by it, defined by it. Tolentino chooses rigor and complexity even at the expense of comfort, interrogating her own complicity in the culture she critiques.

“These essays are compulsively readable, and shot through with surprise, offering us the delights of eloquence and the satisfactions of her deep, inquiring mind,” shared the Selection Committee.

The Whiting Non-Fiction Winner expressed on Twitter her gratefulness for the award.

“Obscene to experience a blessing like this right now but I am so grateful to the Whiting Foundation to be included in this group. I hope I can pay the good forward,” Tolentino shared.

Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at The New Yorker, formerly the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at The Hairpin. Her book of essays, Trick Mirror, was a New York Times bestseller. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, TIME, and other major publications.

Leslie Jamison, the author of The Recovering, reviewed and praised Jia Tolentino and her book of essays, Trick Mirror “In Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino’s thinking surges with a fierce, electric lyricism . . . She’s horrified by the world and also in love with it. Her truths are knotty but her voice is crystalline enough to handle them. She’s always got skin in the game; she knows we all do . . . She refuses easy morals, false binaries, and redemptive epiphanies, but all that refusal is in the service of something tender, humane, and often achingly beautiful.”

Since 1985, the Whiting Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Awards, given annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. The awards, of $50,000 each, are based on early accomplishment and the promise of great work to come.

The New York Times featured the 10-year-old Filipino-American wonder kid Edbert Aquino for his handwriting, amidst a revival of cursive writing in the state of New Jersey.

TIME has championed the cause of journalists like Filipino journalist Maria Ressa who was named the 2018 TIME Person of the Year as a Guardian of The Truth.

CHECK OUT MORE FILIPINO AND FIL-AM WRITERS in this list feature of 10 Homegrown Filipino Books To Read In The Time of Quarantine.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Jia Tolentino for winning the Whiting Awards for Non-Fiction!

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