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Visiting Writers' Series LibGuide: Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead

Colson WhiteheadPhoto Attribution:Colson Whitehead @ BBF by editrrix. Used under (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Many works by our Visiting Writers' Series authors are pulled from their normal places on the shelves and temporarily located in a special display in the Browsing Collection. This collection is located near the Information Commons service desk, next to the vending machines and newspapers. 

When you look at an item's record in WorldCat Discovery, be sure to note whether the items is in the General Stacks (mostly 2nd floor) or the Browsing Collection (1st floor). If you have any questions about locating an item on the shelf, don't hesitate to ask us!

Remember - if we don't own it or our copy is currently checked out, you probably can still get a copy through PALShare or interlibrary loan! Learn more.

"Colson Whitehead was born in 1969, one of four children of Arch and Mary Ann Whitehead, and grew up in New York City. He decided as early as age ten or eleven that "writing could be a cool job," he said to Tom Nolan in Bookselling This Week, and initially envisioned himself penning Spiderman comics or novels in the style of Steven King. His literary tastes matured as he went through high school, and as an English major at Harvard University he discovered such twentieth-century authors as Nathanael West, Ralph Ellison, Ishmael Reed, and Thomas Pynchon, whom he described to Nolan as "very good models for me when I was trying to find my voice.

Colson Whitehead is one of the most promising--and certainly one of the hippest--young writers on the literary scene today. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize and a regular on the New York Timesbest books list, Whitehead has been compared to such authors as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Thomas Pynchon. For his literary accomplishments, Whitehead received a coveted "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation in 2002, recognizing him as one of the nation's top creative minds and signaling that he is a writer to watch.

After completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard in 1991, Whitehead joined the staff of the Village Voice, first working on the Voice Literary Supplement--his duties included opening the mail--and then writing book reviews and television criticism. Working under the threat of constant deadlines forced Whitehead to develop the work habits of a professional writer, and after a few years he had the confidence to start writing fiction."



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