JABARI ASIM (jabariasim.com) is Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the most influential African-American literary and cultural critic of his generation.
He is the acclaimed author of What Obama Means, (William Morrow January 20, 2009; $21.99; ISBN-13: 978-0061711336) as well as the author of the highly praised and controversial The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, AndWhy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; ISBN-13: 978-0618197170 .)
Asim is the Editor-in-Chief of The Crisis magazine, a preeminent journal ofpolitics, ideas and culture published by the NAACP and founded by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1910. He spent 11 years at the Washington Post, where he served as deputy editor of the book review section. For three years he also wrote asyndicated column on political and social issues for the Post.
He is a frequent public speaker and commentator who has appeared on The Today Show, The Colbert Report, Hannity & Colmes, the Tavis Smiley Show, the Diane Rehm show and countless other programs. He has lectured at many of thenation’s finest universities, including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Syracuse University and the University of Florida.
He is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle whose reviews and cultural criticism also have been published in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Phoenix Gazette, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Salon.com,the Detroit News, The Village Voice, Hungry Mind Review, XXL, Code, Emerge, Essence, Africana.com and BlackElectorate.com.
An accomplished poet, playwright and fiction writer, Asim has published work in a number of anthologies and literary magazines. He was the only writer to have both poetry and fiction included in In The Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers; his short story "Two Fools" appeared in Brotherman: The Odysseyof Black Men in America (Ballantine); and his poems, along with "Peace, Dog," a one-act play, were published in Soulfires: Young Black Men on Love and Violence.
His critical essay, "What Is This New Thing?" appears in The Furious Flowering of African-American Poetry. His poetry was published in African American Writers: A Literary Reader; and an essay appeared in Step Into A World:A Global Anthology of The New Black Literature.
His poetry was also published in the anthologies Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art, Beyond TheFrontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century, and appeared most recently in The Harlem Reader: A Celebration of New York’s Most Famous Neighborhood from the Renaissance Years to the 21st Century; and in From The Black Arts Movement to Furious Flower: A Collection of Contemporary African American Poetry.
The Road To Freedom, his first novel for young readers, was published in 2000. He is editor of Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on the Law, Justice and Life, published in November 2001.
His other children’s books include Whose Toes Are Those, Whose Knees Are These, and Daddy Goes to Work.Girl of Mine and Boy of Mine are due to be published spring 2010 by Little Brown.
Asim’s debut work of fiction, Nappy Days, will be published by Doubleday in 2010.
Jabari Asim divides his time between Illinois and Maryland with his wife, Liana and their five children.