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NYT Names Brontez Purnell, Ishmael Reed Among Top Black Male Writers

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Bay Area writers Brontez Purnell and Ishmael Reed (L–R) are included today in the New York Times' 'Black Male Writers of Our Time' feature. (Brontez by Boots Riley; Ishmael via Instagram)

Bay Area writers Brontez Purnell and Ishmael Reed have been honored as part of a giant feature in the New York Times’ style magazine titled “Black Male Writers of Our Time.”

With 32 writers both established and upcoming, the feature spread also includes creative direction by Oakland’s Boots Riley in a books-laden photo spread of suited-up black excellence. The list of writers honored also includes Rickey Laurentiis, Nathan Alan Davis, Brian Keith Jackson, Marcus Burke, James McBride and 25 others.

Purnell, from Oakland, is the author of The Cruising Diaries, Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger, and Since I Laid My Burden Down. A member of the ’00s band Gravy Train!!!, he now fronts the punk band the Younger Lovers. In March, he won the Whiting Award for fiction.

Reed moved to the Bay Area in 1970 after living in New York, where he co-founded the underground paper the East Village Other and wrote the acclaimed novel Mumbo Jumbo, among others. He taught at UC Berkeley for 25 years before moving to California College of the Arts. His collaborations with jazz musicians are plentiful; he was SFJAZZ’s poet laureate from 2012-2016.


See the New York Times feature here.

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