James Baldwin (1924–1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic, and one of America’s foremost writers. His writing explores palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-twentieth-century America. A Harlem, New York, native, he primarily made his home in the south of France. He is the author of several novels and books of nonfiction, including Notes of a Native Son, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni’s Room, Another Country, Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, If Beale Street Could Talk, Just Above My Head, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, and The Evidence of Things Not Seen, and of the poetry collection Jimmy’s Blues.
Edward P. Jones is the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Known World. He won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award for his debut collection of stories, Lost in the City. His second collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.