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Charles Johnson

(Charles Richard Johnson)
USA flag (b.1948)

Charles R. Johnson is an American scholar and author of novels, short stories, and essays. Johnson, an African-American, has directly addressed the issues of black life in America in novels such as Middle Passage and Dreamer.

Johnson first came to prominence in the 1960s as a political cartoonist, at which time he was also involved in radical politics. In 1970, he published a collection of cartoons, and this led to a television series about cartooning on PBS.

Awards: NBA (1990)  see all
   Faith and the Good Thing (1974)
   Oxherding Tale (1982)
   Middle Passage (1990)
   Dreamer (1998)
   Another River to Cross (2002)
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Anthologies edited
   I Was Born a Slave (1999) (with Yuval Taylor)
Non fiction
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Books containing stories by Charles Johnson
Growing Up Chicago (2022)
edited by
Lauren DeJulio Bell, Roxanne Pilat and David Schaafsma
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019 (2019)
(Best American Nonrequired Reading)
edited by
Edan Lepucki

More books 

1990 National Book Award for Fiction : Middle Passage

Award nominations
1990 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (nominee) : Middle Passage
1987 PEN/Faulkner Award (nominee) : The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Charles Johnson recommends
The Final Case (2022)
David Guterson
"I read The Final Case in a single sitting, spellbound by David Guterson's exploration of a tragic death caused by the kind of religious fanaticism that has long plagued our human species. Yet he balances this horrifying perversion of spirituality with the portrait of a lawyer, nearing death, who in the true meaning of heroism, knows that his daily devotion to the rule of law, reason, and civilized values is all that we have - as problematic as these principles can be - to hold back the irrational, ever-present darkness in the human soul. Long after you have finished reading this life-affirming novel, the timeless issues it raises will linger in your mind."
Music of the Ghosts (2017)
Vaddey Ratner
"Few atrocities compare with the almost unimaginable devastation brought to Cambodia by Pol Pot. But Vaddey Ratner, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime, has not only created here an unforgettable vision of revolution and genocide, but also a moving portrayal of lives interwoven by loss, Buddhist wisdom and, most important of all, redemption. Music of the Ghosts is a powerful performance."
The Coming (2015)
Daniel Black
"Powerful and beautiful...this is a work to be proud of."

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