The New York Times bestseller, these groundbreaking essays and poems about race—collected by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward and written by the most important voices of her generation
In this bestselling, widely lauded collection, Jesmyn Ward gathers our most original thinkers and writers to speak on contemporary racism and race, including Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Edwidge Danticat, Kevin Young, Claudia Rankine, and Honoree Jeffers. The Fire This Time shines a light on the darkest corners of our history, wrestles with our current predicament, and imagines a better future.
Envisioned as a response to The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin’s groundbreaking 1963 essay collection, these contemporary writers reflect on the past, present, and future of race in America. We’ve made significant progress in the fifty-odd years since Baldwin’s essays were published, but America is a long and painful distance away from a “post-racial society”—a truth we must confront if we are to continue to work towards change.
Baldwin’s “fire next time” is now upon us, and it needs to be talked about.
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“Thoughtful, searing, and at times, hopeful. The Fire This Time is vivid proof that words are important, because of their power to both cleanse and to clarify.”
About the Authors
Jesmyn Ward is the winner of two National Book Awards for Fiction for Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones. Her memoir Men We Reaped was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She is an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University.
Edwidge Danticat is the author of numerous books, including Brother,
I’m Dying, a National Book Critics Circle Award and National Book Award
finalist; Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik?
Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; The Farming of Bones, an
American Book Award winner; and The Dew Breaker, a PEN/Faulkner Award
finalist and winner of the inaugural Story Prize. The recipient of a MacArthur
Fellowship, she has been published in the New Yorker, the New York
Times, and elsewhere. She lives in Miami.
Claudia Rankine is the author of several previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Pomona College.
Kevin Young is the author of a books nonfiction and several books of poetry, including Blue Laws, which was long-listed for the National Book Award. He is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.
J. D. Jackson is a theater professor, aspiring stage director, and award-winning audiobook narrator. He is a classically trained actor, and his television and film credits include roles on House, ER, Law & Order, Hack, Sherrybaby, Diary of a City Priest, and Lucky Number Slevin. He is the recipient of more than a dozen Earphones Awards for narration and an Odyssey Honor for G. Neri’s Ghetto Cowboy, and he was also named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of the Year for 2012 and 2013. An adjunct professor at Los Angeles Southwest College, he has an MFA in theater from Temple University.
About the Narrators
Cherise Boothe, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, has worked extensively in theater, film, television, and narration. She has appeared in numerous regional plays, as well as in television shows such as The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, and Gossip Girl. She holds an MFA in acting from New York University. She was a finalist in 2015 for the prestigious Audie Award for best multivoiced narration.
Kevin R. Free is an audiobook narrator and the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and several AudioFile best narrations of the year selections. Known for his work with young-adult novels, he has read titles by Rick Riordan, Walter Dean Myers, and Joe Haldeman. In 2011 he was named a Best Voice in Young Adult and Fantasy from AudioFile magazine for his narration of Myers’ The Cruisers: Checkmate.
Korey Jackson, an Earphones Award-winning narrator, is an actor, known for his roles in the films 37, Life Itself, and Anesthesia. He earned his MFA in acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Susan Spain has appeared on stages in New York City, across
the United States, and in Europe. Performances includes roles in an international production
of The Best of Broadway and a staging of Little Shop of Horrors at
the Smithsonian Institute’s Folklife Festival in Washington, DC. She has also
appeared in Hair.