James McBride

Writer, musician, and screenwriter James McBride is the author of the award-winning memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, which was a New York Times best-seller for more than two years. His most recent novel, The Good Lord Bird, a comedy about the abolitionist John Brown, won the 2013 National Book Award and was named one of the best books of 2013 by both Amazon.com and Publishers Weekly. He has also partnered with filmmaker Spike Lee on two film projects: 2008’s Miracle at St. Anna, based on McBride’s debut novel of the same name, and 2012’s Red Hook Summer, co-written with Lee. He is a former staff writer for the Boston Globe, People, and the Washington Post. His work has appeared in Essence, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. As a musician, McBride has toured as a saxophonist sideman with jazz legend Jimmy Scott, among others. He has also written songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., Purafe, Gary Burton, and even for the PBS television character Barney. He received the Stephen Sondheim Award and the Richard Rodgers Foundation Horizon Award for his musical Bo-Bos, co-written with playwright Ed Shockley. McBride, currently a distinguished writer-in-residence at New York University, is, by his own admission, “the worst dancer in the history of African Americans, bar none.”


Visit James McBride’s website.

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Read an excerpt from The Good Lord Bird.

Read the New York Times review of The Good Lord Bird.

Listen to an NPR interview with McBride.

Watch a PBS interview with McBride.

Read an interview with McBride.


Fiction , Film/Television , Memoir , Song Writing

Calvin College