Alec Wilkinson

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Alec Wilkinson (b. 1952 - ) is a writer who has been on the staff of The New Yorker since 1980.[1] According to The Philadelphia Inquirer he is among the "first rank of" contemporary American (20th and early 21st century) "literary journalists...(reminiscent) of Naipaul, Norman Mailer and Agee." He is the author of ten books: "Midnights," (1982), "Moonshine," (1985), "Big Sugar," (1989), "The Riverkeeper," (1981), "A Violent Act, (1993), "My Mentor," (2002), "Mr. Apology," (2003), "The Happiest Man in the World," (2007), the latter about Poppa Neutrino, the only man to cross the Atlantic in a raft made of trash, and "The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger," (2009). His most recent book is "The Ice Balloon," (2012), the account of the Swedish visionary aeronaut S.A. Andree's attempt, in 1897, to discover the North Pole by flying to it in a hydrogen balloon.[2] Before Wilkinson was a writer, he was a policeman in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, which is the subject of "Midnights," and before that he was a rock and roll musician, playing in a number of bands, including one in Berkeley, California with Tony Garnier, Bob Dylan's longtime bass player and bandleader. Wilkinson began writing when he was twenty-four, showing work to William Maxwell, his father's friend, who in addition to being a novelist and short-story writer, had for forty years been an editor of fiction at The New Yorker. They worked together closely for years. Maxwell died in July 2000. "My Mentor" describes their friendship. Wilkinson's honors include a Lyndhurst Prize, a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and a Guggenheim fellowship. He is married, has a son, and lives in New York City. He is also the brother of Leland Wilkinson.



  • Wilkinson, Alec (1982). Midnights, a year with the Wellfleet police. New York: Random House. 
  • — (1985). Moonshine : a life in pursuit of white liquor. New York: Knopf. 
  • — (2009). The protest singer : an intimate portrait of Pete Seeger. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 

Essays and reporting[edit]

  • Wilkinson, Alec (April 16, 2007). "No obstacles". The Sporting Scene. The New Yorker.  Parkour.
  • — (December 8, 2008). "From Russia". The Talk of the Town. At the Rink. The New Yorker. 84 (40): 38.  Translated web reports of Russian ice hockey matches.
  • — (November 15, 2010). "Long time coming". The Music Scene. The New Yorker. 86 (36).  Bettye LaVette
  • — (December 19–26, 2011). "Higher, faster, madder". Profiles. The New Yorker. 87 (41): 60–70.  Ashrita Furman
  • — (February 13–20, 2012). "Troubadour". The Talk of the Town. Passing Through. The New Yorker. 88 (1): 6.  J.D. Souther.
  • — (January 7, 2013). "Being prepared". The Talk of the Town. Ink. The New Yorker. 88 (42): 19–20.  Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues.
  • — (March 4, 2013). "Cubies". The Talk of the Town. Art's Sake. The New Yorker. 89 (3): 21. 
  • — (April 1, 2013). "Rap sheet". The Talk of the Town. Metrics. The New Yorker. 89 (7): 24–25. 
  • — (April 22, 2013). "Strolling, strumming". The Talk of the Town. The Boards. The New Yorker. 89 (10): 34–36.  Nellie McKay.
  • — (July 1, 2013). "Mask crusader". The Talk of the Town. Big Brother Dept. The New Yorker. 89 (19): 22–23. 
  • — (October 28, 2013). "Dream on". The Talk of the Town. Brave New World Dept. The New Yorker. 89 (34): 24. 
  • — (April 13, 2015). "New translation". The Talk of the Town. The Musical Life. The New Yorker. 91 (8): 25. 
  • — (February 1, 2016). "Time is a ghost : Vijay Iyer's jazz vision". Onward and Upward with the Arts. The New Yorker. 91 (46): 22–28. 


  1. ^ "Alec Wilkinson". Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  2. ^ Hellman, David (March 18, 2007). "Adventurer with a Maverick Streak". SF Retrieved Sep 30, 2010. 

External links[edit]