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Lawrence P. Jackson, a writer and historian who has recast the study of modern African-American literature and culture, presents the definitive biography of Chester B. Himes, the groundbreaking author who had an extraordinary legacy on black writers globally.
Chester B. Himes has been called “one of the towering figures of the black literary tradition,” by Henry Louis Gates, “the best writer of mayhem yarns since Raymond Chandler,” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and “a quirky American genius,” by Walter Mosely. He was the twentieth century’s most prolific black writer, captured the spirit of his times expertly, and left a distinctive mark on American literature. Yet today he stands largely forgotten.
In this new biography, Lawrence P. Jackson uses exclusive interviews and unrestricted access to Himes’s full archives to portray a controversial American writer whose novels unflinchingly confront sex, racism, and black identity. More than ten years in the writing, Jackson’s biography restores the legacy of a fascinating maverick caught between his aspirations for commercial success and his disturbing, vivid portraits of the United States.
Lawrence P. Jackson is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English and History at Johns Hopkins University, and the author of Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius, The Indignant Generation, and My Father’s Name. He has been published in n+1 and Harper’s, and lives here in Baltimore.
TIME & DATE
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 6:30pm