Mat Johnson is was born,
August 19th 1970, to an Irish American man and an African American
woman. Five years after his parents' divorce, Mat was living with his
social-worker mother in the predominantly black, working class Philly
neighborhood of Germantown.
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Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (March 1, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
In PYM, recently canned professor of American literature Chris Jaynes is
obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe's strange and only novel,The Narrative of
Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. When Jaynes discovers an old manuscript of a
memoir that seems to confirm the reality of Poe's fiction, he conspires to
get to Antarctica, the setting for Poe's book, in hopes of discovering
Tsalal, the remote and mythic land of pure and utter blackness that Poe
describes with horror. Jaynes imagines it to be the last untouched bastion
of the African Diaspora and the key to his personal salvation.
For his expedition, Jaynes convenes an all-black crew ' some members are going to the South Pole in search of adventure, some for natural resources to exploit, and, for Jaynes at least, the mythical world of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. But soon, he and his fellow adventurers find themselves unable to make contact with the rest of the world and enslaved by the giant white ice creatures that also appear in Poe's Narrative. With little but the firsthand account from which Poe derived his seafaring tale, a bag of bones, and a stash of Little Debbie snack cakes, Jaynes embarks on an expedition under the permafrost of Antarctica, beneath the surface of American history, and behind one of literature's great mysteries.
A riveting adventure novel and a cutting, insightful meditation on race, literature, and obsession, PYM is sure to be one of the most inventive and engaging novels of 2011.
"You can trust the veracity of this account: Pym is a spectacularly sly and nimble-footed send-up of this world, the next world, and all points in between. A satire with heart, as courageous as it is cunning." --Colson Whitehead, author of Sag Harbor
"Johnson's new novel is nothing short of fantastic, in every sense. I fell in love with the voice, the tone and the world of Pym. This is an adventure novel, a work of historical and social commentary, a rumination on identity. The only problem I could find with this novel is that I didn't write it. It's a beautiful piece of work." --Percival Everett, author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier
"Johnson has come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and he's all out of bubble gum. Pym is an adventure, a satire, and a bracing political debate all rolled into one brilliant novel. Edgar Allen Poe has inspired many authors but Mat Johnson has the inspired audacity to both honor and discredit the man, often in the same sentence. I imagine Poe choking on half the things Johnson writes in this novel, and tipping his tiny hat in admiration to the rest." --Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine
"Johnson writes with all the probing intelligence of James Baldwin, the scalding satire of Dany Laferriere and the technique of a master craftsman, all of which make him one of the most exciting, important and gifted writers of his generation. Pym is a moving and accomplished novel." --Chris Abani, author of GraceLand and the Virgin of Flames
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art by Warren Pleece
Hardcover: 136 pages
Publisher: Vertigo (February 6, 2008)
Writer Mat Johnson, winner of the prestigious Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction, constructs a fearless graphic novel that is both a page-turning mystery and a disturbing exploration of race and self-image in America, masterfully illustrated with rich period detail by Wareen Pleece.
In the early 20th Century, when lynchings were commonplace throughout the American South, a few courageous reporters from the North risked their lives to expose these atrocities. They were African-American men who, due to their light skin color, could "pass" among the white folks. They called this dangerous assignment going "incognegro."
Zane Pinchback, a reporter for the New York-based New Holland Herald barely escapes with his life after his latest "incognegro" story goes bad. But when he returns to the sanctuary of Harlem, he's sent to investigate the arrest of his own brother, charged with the brutal murder of a white woman in Mississippi.
With a lynch mob already swarming, Zane must stay "incognegro" long enough to uncover the truth behind the murder in order to save his brother ' and himself. He finds that the answers are buried beneath layers of shifting identities, forbidden passions and secrets that run far deeper than skin color.
Great Negro Plot: A Tale of Conspiracy and Murder in Eighteenth-Century New York
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Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (January 23, 2007)
The astonishing true story of how rumors of a slave revolt led to a summer of persecution and murder in eighteenth-century New York
In 1741, New York City was thrown into an uproar when a sixteen-year-old white
woman, an indentured servant named Mary Burton, testified that she was privy to
a monstrous conspiracy against the white people of Manhattan. Promised her
freedom by authorities if she would only uncover the plot, Mary reported that
the black men of the city were planning to burn New York City to the ground. As
the courts ensnared more and more suspects and violence swept the city, 154
black New Yorkers were jailed, 14 were burned alive, 18 were hanged, and more
than 100 simply 'disappeared'; four whites wound up being executed and 24
imprisoned. Even as the madness escalated, however, officials started to realize
that Mary Burton might not be telling the truth.
Expertly written by the acclaimed author of Drop and Hunting in Harlem, The Great Negro Plot is a brilliant reconstruction of a little-known moment in American history whose echoes still reverberate today.
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Tony Akins (Illustrator), Dan Green (Illustrator)
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Vertigo (April 5, 2006)
"I grew up reading comics'the first thing I ever read on my own was a reprint of Hulk #1 (minus cover, ghetto style). In college, I started reading Sandman and from there got hooked on Vertigo Books. When an opportunity arose to write for Vertigo, I jumped at it. I pitched and idea based around my Great Negro Plot research, and Karen Berger went for it, asking that I use Papa Midnite as a character, who came complete with an existing audience (and of course the movie Constantine was coming out). In general, I prefer creating my own characters and stories, but I saw a chance to take a character that was little more than primitive black stereotype (no disrespect to the great Alan Moore) and turn it into something with more depth, reality. Plus, I got to write for Hellblazer on my first dabble in the medium, how dope is that?" 'Mat Johnson
The King of Voodoo has a long history, but where did it all begin? The answer can be found in HELLBLAZER: PAPA MIDNITE, collecting the acclaimed 5-issue Vertigo miniseries that follows the story of the curse that made Midnite immortal, from its origin in 1712 through the failed slave rebellion of 1741 and into the present day, where he continues to pay the price for his original sin.
Format: Hardcover, 288pp
Pub. Date: May 2003
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Horizon Realty is bringing Harlem back to its Renaissance. With the help of Cedric, Bobby, and Horus-three ex-cons trying to forge a new life-Horizon clears out the rubble and the rabble, filling once-dilapidated brownstones with black professionals handpicked for their shared vision of Harlem as a shining icon for the race. And fate seems to be working in Horizon's favor: Harlem's undesirable tenants seem increasingly clumsy of late, meeting early deaths by accident. As an ambitious reporter, Piper Goines, begins to investigate the neighborhood's extraordinarily high accident rate, Horizon's three employees find themselves fighting for their souls and their very lives-against a backdrop of some of the most beautiful brownstones in all of Manhattan.
Format: Hardcover, 1st ed., 214pp.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Pub. Date: September 2000
"Drop is a hip, contemporary morality tale set on two continents. The novel is at times predictable, but the language is so alive, crispy-fresh and musical that you will find yourself reading aloud. 'Bring-Bring me somewhere lovely where people are so alive you can hear their pulses bump-bumping as they pass you on the street,' whines Chris Jones. He is a victim of the Philly ghetto who would sell his soul to escape his fate. He does manage an escape by 'pimping perfection' to the public as a top young creative wizard, putting a London advertising agency on the map. 'Black Issues Book Review
Johnson's work is included in the following anthologies:The Best African American Fiction (2009)
Publisher: Bantam (January 13, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
Introducing the first volume in an exciting
new annual anthology featuring the year's most outstanding
fiction by some of today's finest African American writers.
From stories that depict black life in times gone by to those that address contemporary issues, this inaugural volume gathers the very best recent African American fiction. Created during a period of electrifying political dialogue and cultural, social, and economic change that is sure to captivate the imaginations of writers and readers for years to come, these short stories and novel excerpts explore a rich variety of subjects. But most of all, they represent exceptional artistry.
Here youill find work by both established names and up-and-comers, ranging from Walter Dean Myers to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mat Johnson, and Junot Diaz. They write about subjects as diverse as the complexities of black middle-class life and the challenges of interracial relationships, a modern-day lynching in the South and a young musician's coming-of-age during the Harlem Renaissance. What unites these stories, whether set in suburbia, in eighteenth-century New York City, or on a Caribbean island that is supposed to be "brown skin paradise," is their creators' passionate engagement with matters of the human heart.
Masterful and engaging, this first volume of Best African American Fiction features stories you'll want to savor, share, and return to again and again.
The Official Website of Mat Johnson