In 1994, while Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times, she became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, winning the feature writing award for her coverage of the 1993 midwestern floods and her profile of a 10-year-old boy who was responsible for his four siblings. Several of Wilkerson's articles are included in the book Pulitzer Prize Feature Stories: America's Best Writing, 1979 - 2003, edited by David Garlock.
She has also been the James M. Cox Professor of Journalism at Emory University, Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University and the Kreeger-Wolf endowed lecturer at Northwestern University and Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction in the College of Communication at Boston University. She also served as a board member of the National Arts in Journalism Program at Columbia University.
As of 2010, Wilkerson lived in the Virginia Highland neighborhood of Atlanta and, in a New York Times interview, remarked on being a part of a movement on the part of some African Americans to return to the South after generations in the North.
The New American Reader: Recent Periodical Essays, edited by Gilbert H. Muller (McGraw-Hill, 1997)
"He Put a Spin on Design", in The Last Word: The New York Times Book of Obituaries and Farewells : a Celebration of Unusual Lives, edited by Marvin Siegel (William Morrow, 1997)
"Superstars of Dreamland", in Best American Movie Writing, edited by George Plimpton (St. Martin’s Press, 1998)
We Americans: Celebrating a Nation, Its People and Its Past, edited by Thomas B. Allen and Charles O. Hyman (National Geographic Society, 1999)
"Two Boys, a Debt, a Gun, a Victim: The Face of Violence", in Writing the World: Reading and Writing about Issues of the Day, edited by Charles R. Cooper, Susan Peck MacDonald (Macmillan, 2000). ISBN 0-312-26008-3
Written into History: Pulitzer Prize Reporting of the Twentieth Century, edited by Anthony Lewis (Times Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2001)
"First Born, Fast Grown: The Manful Life of Nicholas, 10", in Feature Writing for Newspapers and Magazines: The Pursuit of Excellence, edited by Edward Jay Friedlander and John Lee (HarperCollins College Publishers, 1997); and The Princeton Anthology of Writing, edited by John McPhee and Carol Rigolot (Princeton University Press, 2001)
Various articles, Pulitzer Prize Feature Stories: America's Best Writing, 1979 - 2003, edited by David Garlock (Iowa State University Press, 1998; Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd edition, April 18, 2003)
"Angela Whitiker's Climb", in Class Matters, by correspondents of The New York Times (Times Books, 2005)
"Interviewing: Accelerated Intimacy", in Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, edited by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call (Plume Penguin Books, January 30, 2007)