Nathan McCall to speak during fall convocation


Bestselling author Nathan McCall will serve as the guest speaker during Fall Convocation at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff  that will also commemorate the National Day on Writing . The free, public event will be held Tuesday, October 20 at 11:00 a.m. in the Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr. HPER Complex.

When Nathan McCall was 10, he played childhood games with neighborhood kids.  At 14, the games changed to gangbanging and petty theft.  When  he  graduated  from  high  school,  he  was  a  sometime mugger  and  a  father‐to‐be.  When  he  was  sent  to  prison  at  age  20 for  armed  robbery,  he  had already shot a man and gotten involved with drugs. Why  did  a  smart  kid  from  a  caring  family  go  so  horribly  wrong?  In  his unflinchingly  honest  autobiography, Makes  Me  Wanna Holler, A Young Black Man in America, McCall looks back on his journey from  troubled  youth,  to  prison  and, later,  to  professional  journalist  at  The  Washington  Post. His story illustrates that for blacks in America, the easy answers don’t always apply. Makes  Me  Wanna  Holler  became  a  New  York  Times  bestseller  and  won  the Blackboard Book of the Year Award  for 1995.

In praise of Makes Me Wanna Holler, noted scholar Henry Louis Gates wrote, “Sooner or later every generation must find its voice.  It may be that ours belongs to Nathan McCall, whose memoir is…a stirring tale of transformation. He is a mesmerizing storyteller.”

In 1997, McCall published his second book, What’s Going On, a series of essays about race relations in America.  McCall now works as a visiting lecturer at Emory University and has recently completed a manuscript for a third book.

In 2007, he published his first novel, Them.  Them tells  the  story  of  Barlowe Reed, an African‐American whose attempt to buy the rundown house he rents in a historic black  neighborhood  is  confounded  by  the  sudden  appearance  of  whites  abandoning the suburbs  for the inner city. Over time, blacks and whites are drawn  into  wrenching neighborhood  power  struggles  as  they  wrestle  with  alien  world‐views and the unsettling realities of gentrification. Them was cited by Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of 2007. In 2008, the novel reached No. 1 on the Essence magazine bestseller list and was a finalist for the 2008 Townsend Prize for Fiction. McCall  serves  as  a  senior  lecturer  in  the  African  American  Studies  Department  at Emory  University  in  Atlanta,  Georgia.  He is currently writing another novel.  He frequently writes and lectures at organizations and universities nationwide about a range of issues, including Politics and Culture, Journalism, Race Relations, Coming of Age in America, and Literature.

For more information about the event, contact the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership at (870) 575-8866.


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