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Tressie McMillan Cottom signs two-book deal with Random House

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Associate Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), is writing two new books for Random House.

The first book, BASIC, will be a paradigm-shifting exploration of how white identity is created, commodified, and disseminated as a dominant cultural, economic, and political force via hidden-in-plain-sight forms of status seeking.

The second book, titled THE VIVIAN, will be a searing memoir that explores contemporary Black motherhood through the lens of McMillan Cottom’s own experiences with her mother and draws upon the history of the Jim Crow south, the post-civil rights movement, and America’s foundational brutality towards Black mothers.

Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom, PhD
Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom, PhD

Random House Executive Vice President and Associate Publisher Kate Medina and Vice President and Executive Editor Jamia Wilson acquired North American and audio rights at auction from Dorian Karchmar at WME.

“I am thrilled to be working on these books at this cultural inflection point and with Random House,” McMillan Cottom said. “In their own way and together, Black motherhood and whiteness’ powerful banality define our society’s foundational divisions. Kate and Jamia bring depth, breadth, and passion to our dream partnership. Their editorial acumen is matched only by Random House’s fierce commitment to books that change the way we understand the world.”

A 2020 recipient of the MacArthur “genius grant,” McMillan Cottom is a sociologist, professor, podcaster (Hear to Slay with Roxane Gay), and writer whose work has earned critical and popular renown. Her most recent book, THICK (The New Press 2019) was a National Book Award finalist for nonfiction.

In addition to her appointment with SILS, McMillan Cottom is a senior faculty researcher at Carolina’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) and a faculty affiliate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

“Tressie is a force,” says Random House publisher Andy Ward. “A rigorous thinker, a beautiful writer, and a voice whose ideas could not be more essential in this moment – and beyond. All of us at Random House are honored to be working with her.”

Random House is an imprint and a division of Penguin Random House LLC.