Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Jabari Asim

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Jabari Asim


Jabari Asim Jabari Asim Author Teacher Occasional Thinker

Professor, editor, author, poet, playwright

African American literature

Notable works
What Obama Means, The N Word

Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction

The N Word, Fifty Cents and a Dream: Y, Whose toes are those?, A Taste of Honey, Road to Freedom

The n word an interview with author jabari asim

Jabari Asim (born August 11, 1962) is an author, poet, playwright, associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, and since August 2007, has been the Editor-in-Chief of The Crisis magazine, a journal of politics, ideas and culture published by the NAACP and founded by historian and social activist W. E. B. Du Bois in 1910.


Jabari Asim Illinois Scholar39s new book examines cultural forces

In welcoming Asim to The Crisis in August 2007, then publisher Roger Wilkins said: "Mr. Asim is a seasoned editor, a fine writer and author of a new best selling book. He is a gentleman devoted to the cause of racial justice, is excited about his new role with the NAACP and we are energized by his joining our ranks."

Jabari Asim Illinois Scholar39s new book examines cultural forces

Asim was chosen by the National Book Foundation to serve on the nonfiction panel for the 2013 National Book Awards. Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the foundation, "lauded Asim’s ability to approach difficult topics with humility."

Jabari Asim freshfictioncomimagesauthors15465jpeg

In April 2009, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Asim a fellowship in nonfiction, one of 180 fellowships awarded to artists, scientists and scholars in 2009 selected from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.

Jabari Asim Jabari Asim Pictures 42nd NAACP Image Awards Red

From 2008 to 2010, Asim was Scholar-in-Residence in African-American Studies and in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Asim spent eleven years (1996–2007) at The Washington Post as deputy editor of the book review section, children's book editor, poetry editor, and editor of the Washington Post′s Education Review. For three years he also wrote a Washington Post Writers Group syndicated column on political and social issues for the Post. Asim is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle.

Prior to his stint at The Washington Post Book World, Asim was book editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, during which time he was the only African American to supervise book/publishing coverage at a major metropolitan daily. His experience at the Post-Dispatch also included copy editor of the daily editorial and commentary pages, and arts editor of the weekend section.

Jabari Asim lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife Liana and their five children.

Left of black with liana and jabari asim


Asim is the author of What Obama Means (William Morrow, January 20, 2009; ISBN 978-0-06-171133-6), as well as The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, And Why (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; ISBN 978-0-618-19717-0).


Asim’s debut work of fiction, A Taste of Honey, is a collection of 16 connected stories told from multiple perspectives which take place in a fictional Midwestern town called Gateway in 1968, published by Broadway Books in March 2010. It was featured in the March 2010 issue of Essence magazine.

Go On Girl! Book Club selected A Taste of Honey for its 2011 Reading List for May.

In January 2011, A Taste of Honey was nominated for Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction, 42nd NAACP Image Awards

Children's books

The Road To Freedom, Asim's first novel for young readers, was published in 2000.

Other children’s books include Whose Toes Are Those, Whose Knees Are These, and Daddy Goes to Work. Girl of Mine and Boy of Mine were published in 2010 by Little Brown.

Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington was published December 4, 2012, by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The book was on the School Library Journal 2012 Editor's Choice List, was a Kirkus Best Children's Books List Selection, was the Fall 2012 Parent's Choice Silver Award Winner, and was an NAACP Image Award Nominee.


His critical essay "What Is This New Thing?" appears in The Furious Flowering of African-American Poetry (ed. Joanne V. Gabbin, 1999), and an essay appeared in Step Into A World: A Global Anthology of The New Black Literature (ed. Kevin Powell, 2000).

Poetry by Asim was published in African American Writers: A Literary Reader, as well as in the anthologies Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art (eds Tony Medina, Samiya Bashir & Quraysh Ali Lansana, 2002), Beyond The Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century (ed. E. Ethelbert Miller, 2002), Herb Boyd's The Harlem Reader: A Celebration of New York’s Most Famous Neighborhood from the Renaissance Years to the 21st Century (2003), and in From the Black Arts Movement to Furious Flower: A Collection of Contemporary African American Poetry.

Book reviews by Jabari Asim

  • Review of "Blonde Faith" by Walter Mosley, by Jabari Asim, New York Times, November 18, 2007.
  • Review of "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz, by Jabari Asim, September 30, 2007.
  • Jabari Asim reviews poetry for children by Marilyn Singer, Gary Soto, Calef Brown, Charlotte Pomerantz, and a collection, The Washington Post (May 14, 2006).
  • The Washington Post's children's book editor Jabari Asim discusses "The Watsons Go to Birmingham" by Christopher Paul Curtis., December 20, 2000.
  • Review of "Suder" by Percival Everett, by Jabari Asim, The Washington Post Book World, November 7, 1999.
  • "Sexual Healing," review of Trey Ellis's novel "Right Here, Right Now," by Jabari Asim, Village Voice, February 2, 1999.
  • The Washington Post Book Club online chats with Jabari Asim

  • Jabari Asim hosts discussion of Edward P. Jones' first book "Lost in the City", The Washington Post Book Club, December 21, 2004.
  • "Schools and Kids", Guest: Jabari Asim, The Washington Post's Children's Book Editor answers questions about children's books, The Washington Post Live Online, April 12, 2000.
  • Jabari Asim hosts discussion of Percival Everett's "Suder", The Washington Post Book Club, November 29, 1999.
  • "Dr. Laura Schlessinger and the N-Word’s Long, Painful Trek Through History," by Jabari Asim,, August 20, 2010.
  • National Book Critics Circle at AWP: Jabari Asim on the Black Critical Tradition, February 7, 2008.
  • "The Last Poets Still Rhyme," by Jabari Asim, The Washington Post, January 8, 2007.
  • "The Sting of Slurs," by Jabari Asim, The Washington Post, November 6, 2006.
  • "Curating and Reclaiming Black History," by Jabari Asim, The Washington Post, February 7, 2005.
  • "Wealth and Racism," by Jabari Asim, The Washington Post, February 16, 2004.
  • Cyrus Webb interviews Jabari Asim and Christopher Rice, Conversations LIVE with Cyrus Webb, BlogTalkRadio, April 8, 2010.
  • "Rap Sessions: Is America Really Post-Racial?", presented by Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, Columbia College, Chicago & Rap Sessions, Moderator: Bakari Kitwana, Panelists: Jabari Asim, Lisa Fager Bediako, Timuel Black, Invincible, Dr. Tricia Rose, Jane M. Saks, April 16, 2009.
  • NPR's Morning Edition: "Obama And Film's 'Magic Negroes,'" Jabari Asim hosted by Steve Inskeep, January 19, 2009.
  • Oprah Radio hosts Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete interview with Jabari Asim about The N Word, August 19, 2008.
  • "Conversations with David Lewis: Jabari Asim - The N Word" Parts 1 & 2 of radio interview on AM 1690 The Voice of the Arts in Atlanta, May 31, 2007.
  • "Jabari Asim 'The N Word,' interview on Bill Thompson's Eye on Books, May 4, 2007.
  • Tavis Smiley, PBS, interviews Jabari Asim about The N Word, April 18, 2007.
  • Podcast: NPR's Diane Rehm interviews Jabari Asim about The N Word, April 4, 2007.
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Jabari Asim reads from A Taste of Honey at Howard County Library, Columbia, Maryland, January 19, 2011.
  • NAACP Crisis Magazine presents A Hip Hop State of Mind with Jabari Asim and Erin O. Patton, Busboys & Poets, Washington, DC (September 10, 2010) (Part 2).
  • NAACP Crisis Magazine presents A Hip Hop State of Mind with Jabari Asim and Erin O. Patton, Busboys & Poets, Washington, DC (September 10, 2010) (Part 1).
  • Jabari Asim on Colbert Report, January 20, 2009.
  • Interview with Jabari Asim about The N Word on This is America with Dennis Wholly (Show 1142, 2007-2008 Season).
  • Jabari Asim on Colbert Report, March 28, 2007.
  • References

    Jabari Asim Wikipedia

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