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Vinson Cunningham

Staff writer and theatre critic at The New Yorker, author

  • About Vinson Cunningham

    Vinson Cunningham joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2016 and has served as the magazine’s theatre critic since 2019. Cunningham writes about the intersection of culture and politics, including memorable pieces on Spike Lee and the January 6th insurrection. In 2020, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for his profile of the comedian Tracy Morgan.

    Cunningham’s debut novel, Great Expectations, was inspired by his experiences working on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Using a political campaign as the narrative backbone, Cunningham writes about the singular experience of David, a young Black man who spends eighteen months supporting a Senator’s presidential bid. David meets an eclectic cast of characters—including cameos by well-known personalities like Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West—who raise questions of history, art, race, religion, and fatherhood and challenge David to come to terms with his own identity as a young Black man and father in America.

    As a speaker, Cunningham brings wit and intellect to the stage, captivating audiences with insightful remarks on politics, history, art, and culture. In personal craft talks about writing, Cunningham talks about his own writing process and the power of observation.

    Cunningham’s essays, reviews, and profiles have appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe New York Times Book ReviewThe FaderVultureThe Awl, and McSweeney’s. He has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Yale School of Art, and Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he was awarded the 2021-2022 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.

    Contact us to learn more about bringing Vinson Cunningham to your organization.

  • Speaking Topics

    Eye and Ear

    Vinson Cunningham unpacks the practice of description in writing—and the power of deep noticing in everyday life.

    Stage and the City

    Vinson Cunningham takes audiences inside today’s theatre landscape from the vantage of a critic living in New York, and argues that engaging with the arts is a way of living better in the city in this defense of the performing arts, public space, criticism, and city life.

    Writing from the Pulpit

    In this talk, Vinson Cunningham explains how the American literary tradition descends from the sermon and the speech—and how understanding public speech helps us better understand the United States.

  • Praise for Vinson Cunningham

    Praise for Great Expectations

    Announces Vinson Cunningham as a novelist of singular style, wit and ambition. Read Great Expectations and see our recent past, our present, and even our future anew.

    Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House, finalist for the National Book Award

    A phenomenal, transfixing work; Cunningham is a singular, dazzling writer.

    Bryan Washington, author of Family Meal and Memorial

    Brilliantly written, piercingly smart, quietly subversive, Great Expectations will be one of the talked-about novels of the year.

    Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin, winner of the National Book Award
  • Books by Vinson Cunningham

  • Media About Vinson Cunningham

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Vinson Cunningham travels from New York, NY

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