Amiri Baraka: Our Man Jimmy

This excerpt is part of the Twentieth-Century Masters Tribute to James Baldwin, sponsored by PEN American Center and Lincoln Center, with The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture… More

Grand Tour

In America I’m not really a private person. No, I’m a public person. And a public person cannot write. More

Freedom Fighter

As an international organization dedicated to the advancement of literature, PEN works to spread literacy in all communities, and to defend freedom of expression. For that reason it is… More

On the Avenue

I didn’t know him, but he knew me. He knew Harlem, he knew poetry, he knew Jesus, and he knew my mother. He knew sin. I did not know… More

The White Problem

In Go Tell It on the Mountain, the young protagonist, John Grimes, stands on a hill in Central Park: “He felt like a long-awaited conqueror, at whose feet flowers… More

On Solid Ground

When I first met the wide smile of James Baldwin face to face, I just burst into tears. In less than a heartbeat, he opened his arms as wide… More

Family Secrets

One of the conditions of being a writer is that all those authors you have loved and learned from, and by necessity have taught yourself to forget, the better… More

With Fire and Bare Hands

How do we speak to you who is our voice and still now. Too patient to laugh at us but smiling yes yes and the glass in your hand your steepled knee that elegant rag of… More

Nikki Giovanni: Making James Baldwin

This excerpt is part of the Twentieth-Century Masters Tribute to James Baldwin, sponsored by PEN American Center and Lincoln Center, with The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture… More