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.