Home > African American Authors, African American Literature, Biography, black authors, Crime Fiction > PODCAST: Lawrence Jackson Discusses Biography of Black Author Chester Himes

PODCAST: Lawrence Jackson Discusses Biography of Black Author Chester Himes

In Lawrence Jackson’s monumental biography, CHESTER B. HIMES, readers are introduced to one of the most prolific and underrated Black writers of the 20th century.   Himes, who lived from 1909-1984, was the author of 17 novels and numerous short stories.  Himes was a black literary realist who used fiction to honestly express the rage he felt at racism, despite the criticism of some of his contemporaries that his perspective was too bleak.  It was his Harlem detective novels that paved the path for enduring financial success as two of those novels were made into movies in the 1970s, Cotton Comes to Harlem and Come Back Charleston Blue.

Lawrence P. Jackson is a Professor of English and History at Johns Hopkins University and also the author of RALPH ELLISON: Emergence of Genius.


  1. January 12, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Thank you Lawrence Jackson for your monumental work with the biography of Chester Himes, my favorite writer. I enjoyed particularly the youngers years, the formation in prison and his strong ethic of writing. Indeed, Chester Himes was an alcoholic but capable of discipline while writing his novels.
    On the other hand, I found the reference to Ralph Ellison overbearing. We are talking about the author of one novel and with noticeably less talent. The relation between Richard Wright and Chester Himes was to my point of you oversimplified too.

    Thank you

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