Detroit Mercy hosts National Book Award Finalist for book talk

March 30, 2021

National Book Award Finalist Jerald Walker will present a talk and reading on April 8 at 6:30 p.m. about his recent book How to Make a Slave and Other Essays.

“I’m very much looking forward to visiting with Detroit Mercy,” Walker said. “Attendees can expect uniquely told stories about black life, a lot of laughs, a little bit of shock and an all-around good time.”

How to Make a Slave was nominated for the 2020 National Book Award for nonfiction.

According to the publisher, Walker asserts in How to Make a Slave, “anger is often a prelude to a joke, as there is broad understanding that the triumph over this destructive emotion lay in finding its punchline.”

Walker doesn't lull his readers; instead his writing urges them to do better as they consider, through his eyes, how to be a good citizen, how to be a good father, how to live and how to love.

“What I like most about doing these events, by far, is the Q&A,” Walker said. “Along with adding a broader context to the work, it allows attendees to get a peek behind the curtain to see what goes into the creative process, as well as to gather writing tips that they might find useful to their own work.”

Walker is considered a leading essayist on race. He is a professor of Creative Writing at Emerson College.

“Walker's very personal essays get the reader inside the head of an informed and thoughtful African-American male as he goes about negotiating the landscape of race in America,” said Detroit Mercy Professor of History and Director of the Black Abolitionist Archive Roy Finkenbine. “He does this, in all cases, with humor and self-reflection, even as he writes about being detained as ‘suspicious’ by security guards at the school where he teaches or his own fears as he returns to the inner city where he grew up.”

Register on Detroit Mercy Live to receive a Zoom link.

The event is co-sponsored by African-American Studies Department, the Black Abolitionist Archive, English Department, History Department and Student Life Office.