MY LATEST BOOK is a collection of photographs — PORTRAITS: MOMENTS OF INTIMACY ON THE ROAD — published by Rare Bird Lit in May 2022. A third volume of travel narrative — THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS — was published by University of Iowa Press in November 2021. Also in 2021 I published a twisty philosophical essay titled AIMLESSNESS, out from Columbia University Press (nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award; available now at 20% off at CUP site, code CUP20.)
The Kindness of Strangers is part of a series I have been calling At Home in the World, which includes AND THE MONKEY LEARNED NOTHING (2017), and DRINKING MARE’S MILK ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD (2016), and I have plans to add one or two more, perhaps one on the nations of the Sahara and another on islands and archipelagos, and one I am ominously calling, for now, THE END OF THE ROAD.
My fiction debut, BORN SLIPPY: A NOVEL was released in January 2020 from Repeater/Penguin Random House. I’ve just completed a sequel — ARCHIPELAGO — that will be published by Red Hen Press in 2025.
My other work includes the cultural histories DOING NOTHING (2006, American Book Award) and CRYING (2001, NY Times Notable Book); the literary histories COSMOPOLITAN VISTAS (2004, Choice Best Academic Ttitle) and AMERICAN NERVOUSNESS, 1903 (1993, NY Times Notable Book); the edited collection These “Colored’ United States: African American Essays from the 1920s (1996); work for film and television; books edited for LARB Books; essays and reviews for New York Times, LA Times, ZYZZYVA, Exquisite Corpse, New Republic, Salon, Black Clock, Lit Hub, Iowa Review, and numerous literary and academic journals and book collections.
I’m a Distinguished Professor and Chair of Creative Writing at UC Riverside, the founding editor in chief and publisher of the Los Angeles Review of Books, founder of The LARB Radio Hour, The LARB Quarterly Journal, The LARB Publishing Workshop, LitLit Book Fair, and LARB Books. I am a part-time musician and a full-time dilettante. I live in Los Angeles and Limeuil, France, where my wife Laurie Winer and I run French Presse, a literary services nonprofit that provides writers residencies.
I’m now working on a cultural history of the year 1925, a hybrid project I’m calling 1925: A LITERARY ENCYCLOPEDIA that will arrive in the centennial year; it will include a book, a website, and a series of podcasts. I’m also working on a third novel, and another philosophical essay, based on audio lectures I produced for Sam Harris’s Waking Up app, titled THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING; I’m hoping Columbia University Press will publish it in 2024.