Theatre Professor Vinson Cunningham Debuts New Novel

Aisha Amin
March 15, 2024

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theatre Vinson Cunningham has published his debut novel, Great Expectations. Published by Hogarth Books, the novel follows a historic presidential campaign which changes the trajectory of the life of a young Black man. 

Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin and winner of the National Book Award, called the novel “Brilliantly written, piercingly smart, quietly subversive.” 

According to the Washington Post, “Vinson Cunningham’s novel is a coming-of-age story that captures the soul of America.” 

Great Expectations follows David, who spends eighteen months working for the "Senator from Illinois" during his presidential campaign. Along the way David meets a myriad of people who raise a set of questions—questions of history, art, race, religion, and fatherhood—that force David to look at his own life anew and come to terms with his identity as a young Black man and father in America.

Cunningham was interviewed by WNYC about the origin of the book, which stems from his time working under President Obama. You can listen here.

Vinson Cunningham is a staff writer and theater critic at The New Yorker. His essays, reviews, and profiles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, FADER, Vulture, The Awl, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Commonweal. In 2020, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for his profile of the comedian Tracy Morgan. Cunningham is a former White House staffer under the Obama administration.