“Between the World and Me,”Ta-Nehisi Coates’s award-winning book exploring racial injustice in America, will be brought to the Apollo stage next April.
Mr. Coates’s fiery work — which made him the National Book Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize finalist — will be adapted into a multimedia performance, with excerpted monologues, video projections, and a score by the jazz musician Jason Moran.
Portions of Mr. Coates’s letters to his son would be read aloud, while narratives of his experiences at Howard University and in New York City could be performed by actors. Kamilah Forbes, the Apollo’s executive producer, will direct the production.
The coming Apollo season will be Ms. Forbes’s first full season in the role; she previously was the associate director of “Raisin in the Sun” on Broadway.
When I was growing up, in segregated South Carolina, African-American role models in national life were few and far between. Later, when my fellow flight students and I, in training at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi, clustered around a small television watching the Apollo 11 moon landing, little did I know that one of the key figures responsible for its success was an unassuming black woman from West Virginia: Katherine Johnson.
Hidden Figures is both an upcoming book and an upcoming movie about her incredible life, and, as the title suggests, Katherine worked behind the scenes but with incredible impact. When Katherine began at NASA, she and her cohorts were known as “human computers,” and if you talk to her or read quotes from throughout her long career, you can see that precision, that humming mind, constantly at work. She is a human computer, indeed, but one with a quick wit, a quiet ambition, and a confidence in her talents that rose above her era and her surroundings.
“In math, you’re either right or you’re wrong,” she said. Her succinct words belie a deep curiosity about the world and dedication to her discipline, despite the prejudices of her time against both women and African-Americans. It was her duty to calculate orbital trajectories and flight times relative to the position of the moon—you know, simple things. In this day and age, when we increasingly rely on technology, it’s hard to believe that John Glenn himself tasked Katherine to double-check the results of the computer calculations before his historic orbital flight, the first by an American. The numbers of the human computer and the machine matched.
Add “Black Panther” to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ list of best-selling titles.
The culture critic and “The Atlantic” journalist’s first foray into comic books was not only the top-selling comic last month, but according to Vulture, it’s the top-selling comic of 2016 so far.
Less than a year after the success of his memoir, “Between the World and Me,” the first issue of Coates’ reboot of the classic Marvel character’s story tops the list with 253,259 orders from North American retailers. While that number doesn’t account for actual sales (or orders from oustide the continent), Vulture notes that it “is the only industry statistic available and it’s generally a good indicator of interest in a comic.” The closest runner-up, the inaugural issue of Marvel’s “Star Wars: Poe Dameron,” received just 175,322 orders.
NEW YORK (AP) — Ta-Nehisi Coates is a prize-winning nonfiction author, journalist and comic book writer. Now he is taking on fiction.
Random House’s One World imprint announced Thursday that Coates has two more books planned, one nonfiction and the other fiction. The books were acquired by One World publisher Chris Jackson, who edited Coates’ best-selling “Between the World and Me.” The book was a Pulitzer Prize finalist last month and winner of the National Book Award.
The first new book is scheduled to come out next year. No other details were made available.
Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and is working on a new Black Panther comic book series for Marvel. He is also the author of “The Beautiful Struggle,” a memoir about his childhood.
Finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Awards have been announced. Awards are given out in six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Five finalists are chosen in each category. The winners will be announced on March 17 at a ceremony at the New School in New York City.
Several of the finalists are African Americans who have ties to the academic world:
Elizabeth Alexander is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. Professor Alexander has been a member of the faculty at Yale since 2000. She previously taught at the University of Chicago. Professor Alexander is the author of six collections of poetry. She is being honored in the autobiography category for her book The Light of the World(Grand Central Publishing, 2015). Professor Alexander is a graduate of Yale University. She earned a master’s degree at Boston University and a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a finalist in the criticism category for his book Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, 2015). The book is a memoir of his life as a Black man in America. The book earlier won the National Book Award. Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine. Coates has served as a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Management. Coates attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 2015, he was named a MacArthur Fellow.
Ross Gay teaches in the creative writing program at Indiana University and for the low-residency master of fine arts degree program in poetry at Drew University in New Jersey. He is a finalist in the poetry category for his collection Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). Dr. Gay is a native of Youngstown, Ohio. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Dr. Gay earned a master of fine arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and a Ph.D. in American literature from Temple University in Philadelphia.
Terrance Hayes was nominated in the poetry category for his collection How to Be Drawn (Penguin Books, 2015). Professor Hayes joined the English department faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. He previously taught at Xavier University of Louisiana and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A graduate of Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina, Professor Hayes earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2014, he was named a MacArthur Fellow.
Margo Jefferson is a professor of writing in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and a professor at the Eugene Lang College of The New School for Liberal Arts in New York. She is nominated in the autobiography category for Negroland (Pantheon, 2015). She won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism while writing for The New York Times. Professor Jefferson is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and holds a master’s degree from Columbia University.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, already a National Book Award winner for “Between the World and Me,” now has a chance to add a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism to his mantel. Mr. Coates’s book, a meditation on racism in America written in the form of a letter to his son, joins works by the novelist Lauren Groff, the memoirist and critic Vivian Gornick and the poet Ada Limón among those nominated for the awards.
The awards, determined by a jury of critics and book review editors, honor excellence in six categories – autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The winners will be named on March 17. On Monday, however, the group announced the recipients of its two annual citations: Wendell Berry, an environmentalist, farmer and novelist, won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, while Carlos Lozada, the nonfiction critic for The Washington Post, captured the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
Ta-Nehisi Coates marked another professional triumph Wednesday night by winning the National Book Award for nonfiction for “Between the World and Me,” his timely, bestselling meditation on race in America.
In an acceptance speech that prompted a standing ovation from the black tie-clad crowd at Cipriani Wall Street in New York, Coates dedicated the award to Prince Jones, a Howard University classmate who was killed while unarmed by a police officer and who figures prominently in the memoir, written as a letter to Coates’ teenage son.
As Coates explained, the officer responsible for Jones’ death was never disciplined for the killing.
“I’m a black man in America. I can’t punish that officer. ‘Between the World and Me’ comes out of that place,” said Coates, a national correspondent for the Atlantic who was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in September.
“We are in this moment where folks are recording everything on their phones. Every day you turn on the TV and you see some sort of violence being directed at black people,” Coates said, alluding to controversial incidents caught on tape, including the death of Eric Garner, the arrest of Sandra Blandand the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed man shot and killed in South Carolina this year.
“I have waited 15 years for this moment, because when Prince Jones died, there were no cameras, there was nobody looking.”
Robin Coste Lewis was also named a winner last night – she took the poetry prize for her debut collection, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a reflection on the black female form throughout history.
In light of the recent events surrounding racial and social injustice around the country, knowing our history, as part of our eternal quest to “stay woke,” is more important than ever. While many of us are experiencing a new movement unfolding right before our eyes, scholars, experts and even regular folks with stories to tell, have been putting their experiences to the page to enlighten generations.
The publishing industry suffers from the same lack of diversity and racial biases that plague society at large. While many books don’t make school reading lists or even the New York Times Bestsellers List, there are countless classics that break down the Black experience in America.
It’s hardly a complete list, which could go on for volumes, but it’s a great starting point:
1. The Mis-Education of the Negro, Carter G. Woodson
This book is of primary importance in understanding the legacy of slavery and how it affects Black Americans’ perspectives in society. The book essentially argues that Black Americans are not educated, but rather conditioned in American society. It challenges Black Americans to “do for themselves” outside of the constructs that are set up for them.
2. And Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
This is one of the most affirming books you will ever read. Technically, it is a collection of poems which focus on hope, determination and overcoming struggle. It contains one of Angelou’s most famous poems, Phenomenal Woman.
3. The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois
One of the most important books on race in sociology and African-American studies, it is a collection of essays that Du Bois wrote by drawing from his personal experiences. Two of the most profound social concepts – The Veil And Double Consciousness were written about in this book which have come to be widely known as part of the experience of being Black in America.
4. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
You may have seen the movie from Steven Spielberg or the recent Broadway musical, but I highly encourage you read this powerful novel, too. The book explores in depth the low position Black women are given in society through the lens of a particular group of women. The story explores both interpersonal turmoil and socially-inflicted violence toward Black women, as well as the bonds they share.
Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of 24 people selected for this year’s “genius grants” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced Tuesday.
Coates, the author of current New York Times bestseller “Between the World and Me,” is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, political and social issues, most prominently racial issues. Recipients receive $625,000 over five years to continue work in their respective fields. Other winners include playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, puppeteer Basil Twist, poet Ellen Bryan Voigt and writer Ben Lerner.
“The Case for Reparations,” Coates’ 2014 centerpiece essay on the state of race relations in the United States, prompted a frenzy of online discussion and debate over the legacy of slavery and institutional racism in America.
Ta-Nehisi Coates can be identified in many ways: as a national correspondent for The Atlantic, as an author and, as of this month, as a nominee for the National Book Award’s nonfiction prize. But Mr. Coates also has a not-so-secret identity, as evidenced by some of his Atlantic blog posts and his Twitter feed: Marvel Comics superfan.
So it seems only natural that Marvel has asked Mr. Coates to take on a new Black Panther series set to begin next spring. Writing for that comics publisher is a childhood dream that, despite the seeming incongruity, came about thanks to his day job. “The Atlantic is a pretty diverse place in terms of interest, but there are no comics nerds,” besides himself, Mr. Coates said in an interview.
His passions intersected in May, during the magazine’s New York Ideas seminar, when he interviewed Sana Amanat, a Marvel editor, about diversity and inclusion in comic books. Ms. Amanat led the creation of the new Ms. Marvel, a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City, based on some of her own childhood experiences.
“It was a fruitful discussion,” he recalled.
After that event, Marvel reached out, paired Mr. Coates with an editor, and discussions about the comic began. The renewed focus on Black Panther is no surprise. Created in 1966, he is the first black superhero and hails from Wakanda, a fictional African country.
“He has the baddest costume in comics and is a dude who is smarter and better than everyone,” said Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel. The character not only adds to the diversity of Marvel’s comics; he will do it for their films too: Black Panther is set to make his big-screen debut next year in “Captain America: Civil War,” followed by a solo feature in 2018.