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Ta-Nehisi Coates biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Read-Alikes

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Photo © Mya Spalter

Ta-Nehisi Coates

How to pronounce Ta-Nehisi Coates: Tah-Nuh-Hah-See

Ta-Nehisi Coates Biography

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a distinguished writer in residence at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is a former staff writer at The Village Voice and Time and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and numerous other publications. Coates has authored a memoir: The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, and runs a blog, Ta-Nehisi News, which was named one of Time magazine's Best Blogs of 2011. His second book Between The World and Me won the National Book Award for Noniction in 2015. Ta-Nehisi is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He is also the current author of the Marvel comics The Black Panther and Captain America.



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Interview

Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of The Beautiful Struggle, talks about what it was like growing up black in 1980s urban America.

The Beautiful Struggle is a memoir with three central characters: you, your brother, Big Bill, and your father, Paul Coates, a Vietnam vet and Black Panther. What was it like to write your first book when the people you were describing are still so close to you?

Not as hard as you might imagine. My people have always been open about these sorts of things, though I must say I didn't know how open until I started interviewing and writing. I think two things are at work here. 1) People just love to talk—I know this from my magazine writing. As crazy as it sounds, most people want to tell you their story, and they want it to be recorded. I often regret that I didn't know this when I was single! Moving on. 2) My brother and father know they have their issues, but they also know that most people have issues. They understand that when you read The Beautiful Struggle, whatever rawness, whatever dirt that's there, you'll see in yourself. To err is human, as the old cliché goes, and I think those points at which we all err in the book are the very things that will draw people in. Even if they haven't walked the same road, I think they'll see themselves in the essential human drama of it all.


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Books by this Author

Books by Ta-Nehisi Coates at BookBrowse
The Water Dancer jacket Between the World and Me jacket The Beautiful Struggle jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Ta-Nehisi Coates but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Jabari Asim

    Jabari Asim

    Jabari Asim is a writer and multidisciplinary artist, who has been described as one of the most influential African American literary critics of his generation. Asim is the Elma Lewis Distinguished Fellow in Social Justice ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Water Dancer

    Try:
    Yonder
    by Jabari Asim

  • Afia Atakora

    Afia Atakora

    Afia Atakora was born in the United Kingdom and raised in New Jersey, where she now lives. She graduated from New York University and has an MFA from Columbia University, where she was the recipient of the De Alba Fellowship.... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Water Dancer

    Try:
    Conjure Women
    by Afia Atakora

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