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Mitchell S. Jackson in Conversation

Join PEN Dallas/Fort Worth for a conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Mitchell S. Jackson. Joined in conversation by the highly respected Texas sports writer, Clarence E. Hill, this conversation will dive into the legacy of basketball fashion and its continued influence on American culture.

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About Fly: The Big Book of Basketball Fashion

Equal parts photo-rich lookbook and cultural commentary, Fly: The Big Book of Basketball Fashion is the story of the extraordinary intersection of high fashion and basketball, from the league’s inception to today, and celebrates the iconic style of NBA athletes.

Each chapter explores the style of an era and the cultural influences that shaped it: The league’s inception in 1949, pre-Civil Rights Movement, when the NBA was mostly comprised of white players who wore suits and skinny ties. The years following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the birth of funk and R&B when basketball fashion got flashier (think Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Wilt Chamberlain wearing fur coats and big hats). The Michael Jordan era of the 1980s and 1990s, with its oversize suits. The epic Iverson/Hip-Hop years of the late 1990s and early 2000s. And now to today, a time defined not only by social media and high fashion’s birthing of the tunnel walk (think LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Russell Westbrook) but one in which athletes are idealized as style icons and activists, figures who inspire conversations beyond how they play and what they wear.

About the Author

Mitchell S. Jackson is the winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing and the 2021 National Magazine Award in Feature Writing. His debut novel The Residue Years, received wide critical praise and won a Whiting Award and The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. The Residue Years was also a finalist for The Center for Fiction Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN / Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, and the Hurston / Wright Legacy Award. Jackson’s honors include fellowships and awards from John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN America, TED, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Center for Fiction. His writing has been featured on This American Life, on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, Time Magazine, Esquire Magazine, and Marie Claire Magazine, as well as in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, The Paris Review, The Washington Post Magazine, The Guardian, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family was published in 2019 and named a best book of the year by fifteen publications, including NPR, Time Magazine, The Paris Review, The Root, Kirkus Reviews, and Buzzfeed. Jackson is a columnist for Esquire Magazine. His next novel John of Watts is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The Moderator

Clarence E. Hill Jr. grew up in Schulenburg, Texas, raised by his grandparents with his sister and three cousins. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he began as an accounting major before pursuing a career in sports journalism. He started his professional career in 1989, working at newspapers in Kansas City, Austin, Victoria, and Corpus Christi before landing a job at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1995. Clarence was “demoted,” as legendary Fort Worth Dunbar basketball coach Bob Hughes used to say, from covering high school sports and Fort Worth ISD to the Dallas Cowboys in 1997 and is currently the longest-tenured beat writer covering the team in addition to covering the Dallas Mavericks. He has been honored by the Texas APME for excellence in sportswriting and features. Clarence has served as a radio host on ESPN’s 103.3 FM and hosts a weekly sportswriters round table on the Cowboys on Thursday night in Arlington. He is the President of the Dallas Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also serves as Vice-President for print of the Dallas Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists. Clarence was the runner-up for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of North Texas Man of the Year, raising more than $70,000 to fund a research grant in the name of his late fraternity brother and Fort Worth Dunbar alumnus Elijah Alexander, and currently serves on the board of the directors for the organization. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi, initiated at Eta Theta in 1984, and was honored as the 2021 Citizen of the Year by the Omicron Gamma Gamma Chapter in Arlington. Clarence was previously honored as media person of the year by the Arlington Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. He is also a board member of the Fort Worth Library. He is a devoted member of St. John Baptist Church Grand Pairie-Southlake, where he serves as an usher.

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