Jabari Asim is an associate professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston and the executive editor of The Crisis, the NAACP’s flagship journal of politics, ideas and cultureHis background as a book critic and a poet, plus his newspaper experience as a book editor, arts editor, and on the editorial staff of a large daily newspaper, contribute to commentary that is unique in perspective.
Asim is perhaps the most influential African-American literary critic of his generation. As a senior editor of Washington Post Book World, he helps determine coverage of not just black literature but also poetry, essays, fiction and nonfiction created around the world. For two years he wrote a book review column that appeared each Tuesday in the Style section of the Post, until he launched his nationally syndicated op-ed column in 2003.
Before coming to Book World, he worked as book editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, during which time he was the only African-American to supervise book/publishing coverage at a major metropolitan daily. Other jobs he held at the Post-Dispatch include copy editor of the daily editorial and commentary pages and arts editor of the weekend section. His reviews and cultural criticism also have been published in the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Salon.com, the Detroit News, The Village Voice, Hungry Mind Review, XXL, Code, Emerge and other journals and publications. Earlier op-ed essays appeared in the Phoenix Gazette, Salon.com and on BlackElectorate.com. His literary essays have been published in “The Furious Flowering of African-American Poetry” (University Press of Virginia) and “Step Into A World: A Global Anthology of The New Black Literature” (Wiley & Sons).
An accomplished poet, playwright and fiction writer, Asim has published work in a number of anthologies and literary magazines. He was the only writer to have both poetry and fiction included in “In The Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers” (Harlem River Press); his short story “Two Fools” appeared in “Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America” (Ballantine); and his poems, along with “Peace, Dog,” a one-act play, were published in “Soulfires: Young Black Men on Love and Violence” (Viking Penguin). Asim’s work also has appeared in “Beyond The Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century,” (Black Classic Press) and in “Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art” (Third World Press).
“The Road To Freedom,” his first novel for young readers, was published in May 2000 by NTC/Contemporary. He is editor of “Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on the Law, Justice and Life,” published in November 2001 by Amistad/HarperCollins. Asim continues to write children’s books and most recently authored “Only the Strong” (2015).
Jabari Asim and his wife Liana have five children.
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