Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts is a writer and public speaker. Her writing successfully blends historical account, geography, and ethnography with narrative finesse and subtlety, as she examines the role of Harlem as Black Mecca and what its constantly changing landscape means for Blacks’ own place within American society and democracy Her book Harlem is Nowhere, published in 2011, serves as the first part in a trilogy centered around what she calls “African-Americans and Utopia.”  It was listed as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 by the New York Times Book Review and was also nominated for the National Books Critics Circle Award.  Harlem is Nowhere is a refreshing new entry in literature on the Black Diaspora in America, with its salience only growing as gentrification slowly and steadily encroaches upon Harlem.


In 2013, funded in part by Creative Capital, Rhodes-Pitts most recent project titled “It Is Written: Notes on Literacy, Liberation, and Belief” investigates literacy during the slavery period and the continuing oppression it had to resist and overcome.


Born in Houston, Texas, Rhodes-Pitts graduated from Harvard University and later received a Fulbright Scholarship in the UK. She is a 2013 Creative Capital Theo Westenberger Fellow and also won a 2012 Whiting Writers’ Award. She has received awards from the Lannan foundation, Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts as well. Her writing has appeared in Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Transition Magazine, and The New York Times amongst many other publications. She regularly contributes to other blogs, TV shows, and websites, where she gives interviews and participates in other fellow artists’ work.