MEET THE AUTHORS

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Mateo Askaripour

New York Times bestselling author Mateo Askaripour's work aims to empower Black and brown people to seize opportunities for advancement, no matter the obstacle. His first novel, Black Buck, takes on racism in corporate America with humor and wit. Askaripour was chosen as one of Entertainment Weekly’s “10 rising stars to make waves,” and Black Buck was a Read With Jenna Today Show book club pick. He lives in Brooklyn. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @AskMateo.

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Kia Corthron

KIA CORTHRON's debut fiction, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, was the winner of the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. Of her second novel, Moon and the Mars, published in 2021, Naomi Wallace wrote, "Corthron, a true heir to James Baldwin, presents a startlingly original exposure of the complex roots of American racism and classism as well as a sweeping exploration of love in all its myriad forms." Corthron was the 2017 Bread Loaf Shane Stevens Fellow in the Novel. She is also a nationally and internationally produced playwright. For her body of work for the stage, she has garnered the Windham Campbell Prize for Drama, the Horton Foote Prize, the United States Artists Jane Addams Fellowship, the Flora Roberts Award, and others. She was born and raised in Cumberland, Maryland, and lives in Harlem, New York City.

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Mahogany L. Browne

Mahogany L. Browne, selected as Kennedy Center's Next 50, is the Executive Director of JustMedia, Artistic Director of Urban Word, an writer, playwright, organizer, & educator. Browne has received fellowships from Arts for Justice, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Vinyl Moon, Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, & Black Girl Magic. Founder of the diverse lit initiative Woke Baby Book Fair, Browne's latest poetry collection Chrome Valley (Norton) due to drop Spring 2023 is a promissory note to survival. She is the first-ever poet-in-residence at the Lincoln Center and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Nicole Dennis-Benn

Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of HERE COMES THE SUN(Norton/Liveright, July 2016), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a 2017 Lambda Literary Award winner. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Soraya McDonald describes Nicole Dennis-Benn's debut as reminiscent of the work of Toni Morrison. Her bestselling sophomore novel, PATSY(Norton/Liveright, June 2019), is a 2020 Lambda Literary Award winner, a New York Times Editors' Choice, a Financial Times Critics Choice, a Stonewall Book Awards Honor Book, and a Today Show Read With Jenna Book Club selection. PATSY has been named Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, TIME, NPR, PEOPLE Magazine, Washington Post, Apple Books, Oprah Magazine, The Guardian, Goodhousekeeping, BuzzFeed, ELLE, among others. "Patsy fills a literary void with compassion, complexity and tenderness," raves Time Magazine; and NPR names Dennis-Benn "an indispensable novelist".

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Ainehi Edoro

Dr. Ainehi Edoro-Glines is a Nigerian academic of Esan descent. She is an Assistant Professor of English at the university of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches and researches on African literature and digital culture, in addition to holding a joint appointment in the African Cultural Studies Department.  She graduated summa cum laude in English from Morgan State University before going on to complete a PhD at Duke University. Edoro is the founder and Editor of Brittle Paper, a leading online platform dedicated to African writing and literary culture. She is working on her first book titled “Forest Imaginaries: How African Novels Think.” Her scholarly article, titled “Unruly Archives: Literary Form and the Social Media Imaginary,” is forthcoming in English Literary History, a journal published by Johns Hopkins University Press. In 2018, she made Okay Africa’s Top 100 Women list in honor of her work in media and publishing. Her writing and commentaries have been featured on The Guardian, BBC World News, and Africa is a Country.

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Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi (they/them) is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Death of Vivek Oji, which was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Jean Stein Award; Pet, a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, a Walter Honor Book, and a Stonewall Honor Book; Freshwater, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and shortlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize; and most recently, Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, which won the 2022 ALA Stonewall Prize for Best Nonfiction Book. Selected as a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation, they are based in liminal spaces.

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Sidik Fofana

Sidik Fofana is a graduate of NYU’s MFA program and a public school teacher in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in the Sewanee Review and Granta. He was also named a fellow at the Center for Fiction in 2018. Stories from the Tenants Downstairs, his debut short story collection composed of eight narratives about residents of a fictional building in Harlem, will be published by Scribner in August 2022.

Available August 16, 2022

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Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects. She also has a newsletter, The Audacity and a podcast, The Roxane Gay Agenda.

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Ladee Hubbard

Ladee Hubbard is the author of The Rib King and The Talented Ribkins, which received the 2018 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, The Times Literary Supplement, Copper Nickel and Callaloo. Hubbard is a recipient of a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. She has also received fellowships from MacDowell, Art Omi, the Sacatar Foundation, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Born in Massachusetts and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida, Ladee Hubbard currently lives in New Orleans.

Harold Green, III

Harold Green, III

Harold Green III is an internationally-admired, award-winning artist whose vibrant storytelling and poetry has been featured in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Ellen DeGeneres Show Blog, Ebony Web, and more. He has brought poetry to new venues, including partnerships with the likes of Nike, Lululemon, Jordan, Google, Illinois Holocaust Museum, Chicago Public Schools, and the Chicago Transit Authority and, most recently, Joe Fresh Goods x New Balance. The recipient of the prestigious Carl Sandburg Literary Award for his debut poetry collection, he was a featured artist at both the Chicago Mayoral Inauguration and the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Harold is the founder and architect behind “Flowers for the Living”, an artistic collective that layers poetry on performances by Chicago’s top singers and musicians. 

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Kevin McGruder

Kevin McGruder is Associate Professor of History at Antioch College. His interest in community formation led to a career in community development, with positions that included Program Director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Director of Real Estate Development with the Abyssinian Development Corporation (Harlem), and Executive Director of Gay Men of African Descent (New York City).  Now as an academic, his research interests include African American institutions, urban history, and LGBTQ history. He has a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University, an M.B.A. in Real Estate Finance from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the Graduate Center of City University of New York.  He is the author of Race and Real Estate: Conflict and Cooperation in Harlem, 1890-1920 and Philip Payton: The Father of Black Harlem.   

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Cleyvis Natera

Cleyvis Natera is the author of the debut novel Neruda on the Park. Her fiction, essays and criticism have appeared in Alien Nation: 36 True Tales of Immigration, TIME, Gagosian Quarterly, The Washington Post, The Rumpus, The Kenyon Review, Aster(ix) and Kweli Journal, among others. She’s received fellowships and awards from PEN America, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, among others. 

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Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books for young people, including Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, All American Boys (with Brendan Kiely), Long Way Down, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (with Ibram X. Kendi), and Stuntboy, in the Meantime (illustrated by Raúl the Third). His most recent book is Ain’t Burned All the Bright, with artwork by Jason Griffin. The recipient of a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and multiple Coretta Scott King honors, Reynolds is also the current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and has appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, CBS This Morning, and Good Morning America. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

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Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is an associate professor of English at Georgetown University, and the author of Blue Talk and Love, winner of the Judith A. Markowitz Award from Lambda Literary. A native of Harlem, she lives in Washington, DC.

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A. J. Verdelle

A.J. Verdelle is the author of the prize-winning novel, THE GOOD NEGRESS, and now, also of the literary memoir, MISS CHLOE. Verdelle is a veteran creative writing teacher and continues to work hard as a mom. Verdelle believes that both democracy and citizenship need nurture.

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Linda Villarosa

LINDA VILLAROSA is a journalism professor at the City University of New York and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, where she covers the intersection of race and health. She has also served as executive editor at Essence and as a science editor at The New York Times. Her article on maternal and infant mortality was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She is a contributor to The 1619 Project.

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Eric K. Washington

Eric K. Washington is an independent historian and author. His book, Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal, won the Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship of New York History and the GANYC Apple Award, and was a finalist for the Brendan Gill Prize. Indispensable to his biographical examination of a forgotten, but once prominent Harlem-based labor figure, were the Schomburg’s rich archival collections. Eric is an appointee of the New York City Archives, Reference and Research Advisory Board (ARRAB). He also chairs the Biographers International Organization’s (BIO) annual Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship, awarded to a biographical work-in-progress about an African American figure or figures.

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Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is the recipient of a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, and she was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award, as well as the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, and the NAACP Image Award. She also wrote the adult books Red at the Bone, a New York Times bestseller, and Another Brooklyn, a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Her dozens of books for young readers include Coretta Scott King Award and NAACP Image Award winner Before the Ever After, New York Times bestsellers The Year We Learned to Fly, The Day You Begin, and Harbor Me, Newbery Honor winners Feathers, Show Way, and After Tupac and D Foster, and the picture book Each Kindness, which won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. 

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Tiphanie Yanique

Tiphanie Yanique is a novelist, poet, essayist and short story writer. She is the author of the poetry collection, Wife, which won the 2016 Bocas Prize in Caribbean poetry and the United Kingdom’s 2016 Forward/Felix Dennis Prize for a First Collection.  Tiphanie is also the author of the novel, Land of Love and Drowning, which won the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction, the Phillis Wheatley Award for Pan-African Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, and was listed by NPR as one of the Best Books of 2014.  She is the author of a collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, which won her a listing as one of the National Book Foundation's 5Under35. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands. She grew up in the Hospital Ground neighborhood in St. Thomas. She lives now with her family in Atlanta where she is a tenured associate professor at Emory University.

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Jacinda Townsend

Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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Kemi Alabi

Kemi Alabi is the author of Against Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, and coeditor of The Echoing Ida Collection (Feminist Press, 2021). Their work appears in The Atlantic, Boston Review, Poetry, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2, and elsewhere. Alabi has received fellowships from MacDowell, Pink Door, Tin House, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Civitella Ranieri. Born in Wisconsin on a Sunday in July, they now live in Chicago, IL.

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Rebecca Carroll

Rebecca Carroll is a writer, cultural critic, host of the podcast "Come Through with Rebecca Carroll" (WNYC Studios), host and creator of the multi-award-winning podcast "Billie Was a Black Woman" (Paramount/Audible), and Editor-at-Large for The Meteor media collective. She has written and consulted on TV pilots, pitches and projects by writer/director/producer Sam Esmail, Topic Studios, and WNYC Studios. Her essays and cultural criticism have been published widely, and her acclaimed memoir, Surviving the White Gaze, has been optioned by MGM/TV and Killer Films, with Rebecca attached to adapt and executive produce for a limited scripted series.

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Caleb Gayle

Caleb Gayle is an award-winning journalist who writes about race and identity. A professor at Northeastern University, he is a fellow at New America, PEN America, Harvard's Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies, and a visiting scholar at New York University. Gayle’s writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Guernica, and other publications. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Gayle is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, the University of Oxford, and has an MBA and a master’s in public policy, both from Harvard University. He lives in Boston.

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Leslie-Ann Murray

Leslie-Ann Murray a fiction writer from Trinidad & Tobago. She created Brown Girl Book Lover, a social media platform where she interviews diverse writers and reviews books that should be at the forefront of our imagination. She also produces a monthly newsletter, Come Get Your Diversity. Leslie-Ann  is currently working on her first novel, This Has Made Us Beautiful. She has been published in Poets & Writers, Zone 3, Ploughshares, Brittle Paper, Obsidian Literary Magazine, and Salamander Literary Magazine.  Leslie-Ann has taught creative writing in France, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, China, and New York City. Lastly, she’s a plant mom, an aunty, and a smoothie enthusiast.

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Abiodun Oyewole

As one of the founding members of the legendary Harlem group The Last Poets, Abiodun Oyewole has dedicated almost 60 years to using his poetry to articulate, glorify and protest the impurities of the black experience worldwide, and in America particularly.  He has become a fixture in the landscape of black consciousness, using uncompromising verse to scold a nation whose inclination to maintain the colonial yoke around the neck of the disenfranchised has always been at issue.  Since Abiodun's first recording with the Last Poets, his work has had influence across the hip-hop landscape, having been sampled by the likes of the Notorious BIG, NWA, A Tribe Called Quest and countless others.  Phrases he coined like "Party and Bullsh*t" have become a mainstay in the Hip Hop lexicon.  A labor of love for over 40 years, ‘Brother Dune’ has opened his home every Sunday to poets, rappers, singers, philosophers, teachers, students, fans and everyday people who have an appreciation for the arts and yearn to be around love and black consciousness. The initial purpose of 'Open House Sundays at 110' was to give aspiring poets a platform to share their work and receive feedback from a giant in the arts.

Album Details Coming Soon

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Yusef Salaam

In 1989, at just fifteen years young, Dr. Yusef Salaam was tried and convicted in the “Central Park jogger” case along with four other Black and Latino young men. The Exonerated Five spent between seven to 13 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit, until their sentences were overturned in 2002. Since then, they have received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of New York for its injustice and have been profiled in award-winning films, including The Central Park Five documentary from Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon and most recently the Emmy award-winning Netflix limited series When They See Us, written and directed by Ava DuVernay.

Over the past two decades, Yusef has become a family man, father, poet, activist and inspirational speaker.  He regularly advocates for criminal justice reform, prison reform and the abolition of juvenile solitary confinement and capital punishment. Yusef is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama (2016) and more recently has shared his story and stance on current issues on CNN, MSNBC, REVOLT TV, NPR Atlanta, FOX and more. He authored his memoir Better, Not Bitter and is the co-author of Punching the Air. 

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Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is a James Beard & NAACP Image Award-winning chef, educator, and author renowned for his activism to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of 4 Color Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House and Ten Speed Press. His sixth book, a collection of recipes, art, and stories, entitled Black Food was published by 4 Color Books/Ten Speed Press in October 2021. It went on to be the most critically acclaimed American cookbook published

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Roger Reeves

Roger Reeves is the author of Best Barbarian (W.W. Norton & Co., 2022), which Tracy K. Smith called “a revelation and a form of reparation,” and King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), a Library Journal  Best Poetry Book of the year, and winner of the Larry Levis Reading Prize, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, and a John C. Zacharis First Book Award. His poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and Tin House, among others. He was awarded a 2013 NEA Fellowship, Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, two Bread Loaf Scholarships, an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, two Cave Canem Fellowships and a Whiting Award. He is currently a fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and an associate professor of English and creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin.