mitchell s. jackson

Happy belated birthday to James Taylor!

I mean, I don’t really see a lot of JT love here but his music means the whole world to me so I just had to draw something, even if I was a few hours late.

My BEA13 Top 10 Picks, I’m most excited by these upcoming titles.

In no particular order: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Altered by Gennifer Albin, The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson, How To Love by Katie Cotugno, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, Scorched by Mari Mancusi, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Webber, and Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink.


Last Sunday, Mitchell S. Jackson, author of The Residue Years, worked with family, friends, and the African American Literature Book Club to give away 125 copies of his novel on 125th Street in Harlem.

We’re honored to have Mitchell joining us on the BookUp faculty this fall!

Find out more about Mitchell here, and visit our website to learn more about BookUp.

Sometimes our Twitter users mix-up the National Basketball Association (#NBA) with the National Book Awards (#NBAwards). That same confusion inspired our first spring fundraiser: The Other NBA, a charity basketball featuring award winning writers.

At St. Francis College in Brooklyn on June 20, you can support the expansion of BookUp, our after-school reading program, to Detroit and Pittsburgh while you watch National Book Award Finalist Jess Walter acclaimed writer and BookUp instructor Mitchell S. Jackson compete against the movers and shakers of the publishing world.

Tickets go on sale soon. Don’t miss out!

The Residue Years

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by Mitchell S. Jackson

Mitchell S. Jackson grew up black in a neglected neighborhood in America’s whitest city, Portland, Oregon. In the ’90s, those streets and beyond had fallen under the shadow of crack cocaine and its familiar mayhem. In his commanding autobiographical novel, Mitchell writes what it was to come of age in that time and place, with a break-out voice that’s nothing less than extraordinary.

The Residue Years switches between the perspectives of a young man, Champ, and his mother, Grace. Grace is just out of a drug treatment program, trying to stay clean and get her kids back. Champ is trying to do right by his mom and younger brothers, and dreams of reclaiming the only home he and his family have ever shared. But selling crack is the only sure way he knows to achieve his dream. In this world of few options and little opportunity, where love is your strength and your weakness, this family fights for family and against what tears one apart. [book link

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Check out Edie Meidav’s MFA lit course, “Lost Believers,” conduct a Q&A with Mitchell S. Jackson, author of The Residue Years. It is great except for the fact that I am sort of mispronouncing Nietzsche. Holler at Dan Grammer for moderating this conversation with me and Steven Tagle for recording it.


TONIGHT, Mitchell S. Jackson, author of The Residue Years and an instructor for BookUp, the Foundation’s after-school reading program, will be awarded the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. This $10,000 prize for emerging African-American fiction writers honors the legendary American writer who published the classic works The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying.

According to The Root, Jackson sees many parallels between events in his own life and that of the protagonist of A Lesson Before Dying. “You don’t often find stories that show the humanity of people who are outcasts. To capture their struggles, the angst and loneliness of being segregated from other inmates, that means a lot,” the writer says.

You can read an excerpt from The Residue Years here.

Photo credit (top image): Joe Sanford Pelican Pictures

Photo credit (bottom image): John Ricard