From 2013 Whiting Award winner Cliff Thompson comes a personal and a national reckoning in the acclaimed new memoir What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man's Blues.
Having once felt a warm hopefulness about the nation, Thompson’s view shifted with kaleidoscopic quickness and disorientation in November of 2016. A parent, a husband, he recognized suddenly the risk of viewing his life as a black man in the United States through a positive but untruthful lens. He needed to grapple with a harsher reality about how the people he lived alongside were willing to value black families. So Thompson shifted, from seeing as he wanted to see regarding race to seeing what is.
The re-appraisal took complex effort. With What It Is, Thompson revisits our national experience using a clear-eyed approach. In what Pulitzer winner Gregory Pardlo calls a rich analysis “without insult our hyperbole,” this deft essayist lays out conversations, interviews, and political discourse alongside personal experience to better convey the honest current state of race in America: what race meant in 2016, and its impact now.
Thompson speaks at Kepler's this November 18th in conversation with Julie Lythcott-Haims, the award-winning author behind Real American and How to Raise an Adult.