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A new book showcases the words and thoughts of writer James Alan McPherson

Cover of book On Becoming An American Writer showing a photo of Black writer James McPherson, gazing straight at the camera,  wearing a cap, in front of bookshelves

Writer and professor James Alan McPherson was the first Black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1978, and he was in the inaugural class of artists to win a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, yet he is not well known. Bowdoin professor Anthony Walton wrote the introduction and selected the essays for a new book, On Becoming an American Writer. It showcases McPherson’s work as a writer and thinker about race, identity, and what it means to be an American.

Anthony Walton, poet; professor of English and writer-in-residence, Bowdoin College; author of works such as a chapbook of poems, Cricket Weather, and a non-fiction work, Mississippi: An American Journey

VIP Caller:
Josh Bodwell, editorial director, Godine publisher

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Jonathan was born in Monsey, New York. A field trip to Washington, DC when he was in 7th grade started him on his circuitous path to a career in public radio. The trip inspired a love of politics and led to his desire to one day call DC home. After graduating from Grinnell College, he worked on a couple of campaigns in Iowa (presidential and congressional) and moved to Washington, DC.