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Walker Essay Collection Longlisted for National Book Award

Jerald Walker head shot
Professor Jerald Walker. Courtesy photo

Professor Jerald Walker’s forthcoming collection, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays (Mad Creek Books/The Ohio University Press) was named to the longlist for the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

How to Make a Slave, the only essay collection longlisted this year, joins nine other books, including memoirs, biographies, science writing, historical analysis, and current events.  Publishers submitted over 600 entries to this year’s panel.

 “It’s a tremendous honor and a truly humbling experience. I’m extremely grateful for the support I received from Emerson during the writing of the book,” said Walker, who teaches in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department.

front cover of book

The book, due out in November, includes reflections on the author’s experiences with racial profiling, discussing race with his children, and meditations on disability and family, “all told with a wry comedic eye and deep honesty,” according to the National Book Foundation, which confers the award.

See the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction Longlist

Finalists in all five National Book Award categories (Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature) will be announced on October 6. Winners will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18.  

Walker also is the author of Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption, winner of the 2011 PEN New England/L.L. Winship Award for Nonfiction and named a Best Memoir of the Year by Kirkus Reviews; and The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Walker has been published in magazines such as Creative Nonfiction, The Missouri Review, The Harvard Review, Mother Jones, The Iowa Review, and The Oxford American, and he has been widely anthologized, including five times in The Best American Essays.

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