Best African American Essays (DOC download)

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Best African American Fiction

Stories

Albino Crow
By Chris Abani
abani@chrisabani.com

Chris Abani's prose includes Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames
(Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and
Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985). His poetry collections are Hands Washing Water
(Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne's Lot (Red Hen, 2003),
and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001). He is a Professor at the University of California,
Riverside and the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus
Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright
Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award & the PEN Hemingway Book Prize.

Orb Weaver
By Emily Raboteau

Emily Raboteau is the author of a novel, The Professor's Daughter. She is at work on a
book of creative nonfiction entitled Searching for Zion, about Exodus movements of the
African diaspora.

The Saving Work
By Tiphanie Yanique

Tiphanie Yanique is review editor with New York University's Calabash. A former
Fulbright Scholar, she has received the Mary Grant Charles Award for fiction, the
Academy of American Poets Prize, the Tufts University Africana Prize for Creativity,
and fellowship residencies with Bread Loaf, Callaloo, Squaw Valley, and the Cropper
Foundation for Caribbean Writers. She is the recipient of a 2008 Pushcart Prize, the 2006
Boston Review Fiction Prize, and was the Parks Fellow/Writer-in-Residence at Rice
University. Her short story "The Saving Work" was chosen by Margot Livesey for the
2007 Kore Press Short Fiction Award.

Dance For Me
By Amina Gautier
agautier@WUSTL.EDU

Amina Gautier is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University in St.
Louis and Assistant Professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University.
More than forty-five of her stories have been published, appearing in
Callaloo, Kenyon Review, North American Review, Shenandoah, Southwest
Review, Storyquarterly, and Sycamore Review among other places in addition
to being anthologized in The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Contemporary
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Women Writers on Forerunners in Fiction, The Best 20 Years of Notre Dame
Review, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2008. Her work
has been honored with scholarships and fellowships from Breadloaf Writer’s
Conference, Ucross Residency, and Sewanee Writer’s Conference. She has
been awarded the William Richey Prize, the Jack Dyer Award, and a grant
from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for her fiction.

**Cell One
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
chimamanda@halfofayellowsun.com

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo
parents. Chimamanda completed her secondary education at the University of Nigeria’s
school, receiving several academic prizes. She went on to study medicine and pharmacy
at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. During this period, she edited The
Compass, a magazine run by the University's Catholic medical students. She gained a
scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years,
and she went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern
Connecticut State University. At the moment, Chimamanda divides her time between
Nigeria and the United States. She was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during
the 2005-2006 academic year, and is now pursuing graduate work in the African Studies
program at Yale University.

This Kind of Red
By Helen Elaine Lee
helee@mit.edu

Helen Elaine Lee was educated at Harvard College and Harvard Law School, from which
she graduated in 1985. Her short stories have appeared in Callaloo, SAGE and several
anthologies, including Children of the Night: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers,
1967 to the Present, edited by Gloria Naylor, and Ancestral House: The Black Story in
the Americas and Europe, edited by Charles Rowell. Her first novel, The Serpent's Gift,
was published in 1994 and her second novel, Water Marked, was published in 1999. She
has recently completed the manuscript of her third novel, Life Without about the lives of a
group of people who are incarcerated in two neighboring American prisons. Life Without,
of which "This Kind of Red" is a part, has been excerpted in Prairie Schooner, Hanging
Loose and Callaloo. Lee is Associate Professor of Fiction Writing in MIT's Program in
Writing and Humanistic Studies.

Novel Excerpts

Dark Reflections
By Samuel R. Delany
sdelany@temple.edu
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Samuel R. Delany is the winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula awards and one of
science fiction's most celebrated authors. Delany began writing in the early 1960s. His
1966 novel Babel-17 established his reputation, and over the next decade he became
famous for his provocative futuristic explorations of race and sexual identity in the
novels Nova, Dhalgren, and Triton. He has also written frankly about his life as an
African-American homosexual, and his non-fiction books include The Motion of Light
and Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-65 (1988) and
Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (Sexual Culture) (1999).

The Great Negro Plot
By Mat Johnson
matjohnson@niggerati.com

Born and raised in Philly, Mat Johnson grew up in the Germantown and Mount Airy
sections of the city. As an adult, he has lived elsewhere. His first novel, Drop, was a
B&N Discover Great New Writers selection. His second novel, Hunting in Harlem, won
the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Johnson was awarded the 2008 James Baldwin USA
Fellowship. He has written for a variety of publications, including a stint as a columnist
for Time Out-NY. Mat Johnson currently teaches at the University of Houston, Creative
Writing Program.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
By Junot Diaz
junot@mit.edu

Junot Díaz’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best
American Short Stories. His highly-anticipated first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of
Oscar Wao, was greeted with rapturous reviews, including Michiko Kakutani in The New
York Times calling it “a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary
fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices.” Born in the Dominican Republic
and raised in New Jersey, Díaz lives in New York City and is a professor of creative
writing at MIT.

Young Adult Fiction

Excerpt from
Feathers
By Jacqueline Woodson
shoutout@jacquelinewoodson.com


Jacqueline Woodson is an award-winning author of children's and young adult
books. She received a Newbery Honor in 2006 for SHOW WAY and again in 2008 for
FEATHERS. Her novels LOCOMOTION and HUSH were both National Book Award
finalists and she is the recipient of three Coretta Scott King Honors as well as the Coretta
Scott King Award for her novel MIRACLE'S BOYS. In 2006, she won the Margaret A.
Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults from the Young
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Adult Library Services Association and in 2008 she received the Virginia Hamilton
Award. Woodson lives with her partner and two young children in Brooklyn, New York.

Excerpt from
Harlem Summer
By Walter Dean Myers
mailbox@walterdeanmyers.net

After serving four years in the army, Myers worked at various jobs and earned a BA from
Empire State College. He has been writing full time since 1977. Walter has been writing
since childhood and publishing since 1969 when he won the Council on Interracial Books
for Children contest which resulted in the publication of his first book for children,
Where Does the Day Go?. In addition to the publication of his books, Walter has
contributed to educational and literary publications. He has visited schools to speak to
children, teachers, librarians, and parents. For three years he led a writing workshop for
children in a school in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Excerpt from
Elijah of Buxton
By Christopher Paul Curtis
kaycurtis@cogeco.ca

Curtis’s writing—and his dedication to it—has been greatly influenced by his family
members, particularly his wife, Kaysandra. With grandfathers like Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a
Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman
Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression, it is easy to see why Christopher
Paul Curtis was destined to become an entertainer. Christopher Paul Curtis made an
outstanding debut in children’s literature with The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963.
His second novel, Bud, Not Buddy, is the first book ever to receive both the Newbery
Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.

Excerpt from
Up for It: A Tale from the Underground Respiration
By L.F.Haines

				
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