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John Edgar Wideman with Mitchell S. Jackson

Readings & Conversations



John Edgar Wideman chronicles contemporary life while considering the historical and existential questions that underlie it. A novelist, short story writer, essayist and critic, he has contributed to a new humanist perspective in American literature, distilling personality and history, crime and mysticism, art and the exigencies of material life into his work. The author of more than twenty novels including Look for Me and I’ll Be Gone, Writing to Save a Life, and Brothers and Keepers, he is a MacArthur Fellow, has won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award. He also received the Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2018. His latest project is the WBUR and Marshall Project podcast Violation, which explores America’s opaque parole system through the 1986 murder conviction of John’s son Jacob.

Mitchell S. Jackson is the John O. Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor in the Department of English. Recipient of a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship, Jackson won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for his article about the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. He is the author of The Residue Years, winner of a Whiting Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Prize, and Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family.