T Magazine Names ‘Black Male Writers of Our Time’

December 7, 2018

Group of writers amist bookcasts of books.

In its latest issue, T: The New York Times Style Magazine named and photographed thirty-two Black male poets, novelists, short story writers, and playwrights who “are producing literature that is essential to how we understand our country and its place in the world right now.”

Among those named are poets Jericho Brown, Shane McCrae, Danez Smith, Phillip B. Williams, and Rickey Laurentiis, fiction writers Dinaw Mengestu, James McBride, Jamel Brinkley, and Marcus Burke, and playwrights Nathan Alan Davis, Michael R. Jackson, and Jeremy O. Harris. “The writers in these pages may be a cohort of sorts, yet their work is distinguished by a great variety of voices and aesthetics,” writes Ayana Mathis for the magazine. “And certainly our conversations about the current literature by black men ought to include as much consideration of how writers say things as what they’re saying.”

The feature, whose creative direction was provided by rapper, producer, and filmmaker Boots Riley, was accompanied by a short film on the making of the photographs called “The Academy: On Being a Black Male Writer in America,” as well as audio and video of the selected writers discussing their favorite Black female author. Poet Major Jackson cited Harryette Mullen; novelist and memoirist Mitchell S. Jackson cited Toni Cade Bambara; and novelist Nelson George cited Lorraine Hansberry.

“I wonder if, in the annals of history, this extraordinary period of artistry will find a name, or a unifying sentiment that codifies it as a movement. Perhaps, or perhaps not,” concluded Mathis. “For now, we can rejoice in the gifted writers whom we are privileged to read.” You can read and view the full interactive feature online.


Image Credit: Shayan Asgharnia

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