Clifford Thompson with Charles Johnson

Clifford Thompson, author of What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man's Blues (Other Press) appears with his friend, Seattle writer Charles Johnson tonight in what will likely be a night to remember. Clifford Thompson's work has appeared in publications including The Best American Essays 2018, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Threepenny Review, and Village Voice. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award for nonfiction and teaches at New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Charles Johnson is a novelist, essayist, literary scholar, philosopher, cartoonist, screenwriter, and professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle. A MacArthur fellow, his fiction includes Night Hawks, Dr. King’s Refrigerator, Dreamer, Faith and the Good Thing, and Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award. In 2002 he received the Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. 

What It Is begins with Clifford Thompson questioning his most deeply held convictions as the race-baiting Donald Trump ascends to the presidency.  Turning to the wisdom of writers he admires, he asks some difficult questions about what is happening in our country. “Have we thought of the essay as a blues-form? It tests limits and possibilities, faces down grief and loss, refuses easy solutions, and tackles harsh contradictions. This is exactly what Clifford Thompson does in What It Is. He moves through an America gripped by stubborn racial and social demons, thinking, listening, talking with grit and grace.” —Margo Jefferson. 

Don’t miss this. Co-presented by Seattle Public Library and Elliott Bay Book Company. Free admission.

What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man's Blues Cover Image
ISBN: 9781590519059
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press - November 12th, 2019

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
Central Seattle Public Library
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104