Thomas Chatterton Williams biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Thomas Chatterton Williams
Photo: Luke Abiol

Thomas Chatterton Williams

Thomas Chatterton Williams Biography

Thomas Chatterton Williams holds a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree from the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at New York University. In 2007, he wrote an op-ed piece entitled “Yes, Blame Hip-Hop” for the Washington Post which generated a record-breaking number of comments. He writes for the literary magazine n+1 and currently lives in Brooklyn.



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Interview

In two separate interviews (one text, one video) Thomas Chatterton Williams discusses his memoir Losing My Cool, which examines the influence of hip-hop culture in his early life.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in New Jersey, but my parents are from out west. They moved the family to New Jersey when my father, a sociologist by training, took a job in Newark running anti-poverty programs for the Episcopal Archdiocese. My father “Pappy” who is black, is from Galveston and Fort Worth, Texas. My mother, who is white, is from San Diego. They both lament the decision to move east.

I spent the first year of my life in Newark, but was raised in Fanwood, a solidly middle-class suburb with a white side and a black side. We lived on the white side of town mainly because Pappy, who had grown up under formal segregation, refused out of principle to ever again let anyone tell him where to live.

I studied philosophy at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and more recently, attended graduate school at New York University.

Why did you write this book?
I started writing this book out of a searing sense of frustration. It was 2007, hip-hop had sunk to new depths with outrageously ignorant artists like the Dip Set and Soulja Boy dominating the culture and airwaves, and something inside me just snapped. I was in grad school at NYU and one of my teachers gave the class the assignment ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Thomas Chatterton Williams at BookBrowse
Losing My Cool jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Thomas Chatterton Williams 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 readalikes

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    Oral Lee Brown

    Oral Lee Brown was selected as one of Glamour magazine's "Women of the Year" in 2002, and appeared on the Today show as part of its "People Who Make a Difference" series. She has also been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Losing My Cool

    Try:
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  • Gail Caldwell

    Gail Caldwell

    Gail Caldwell is the former chief book critic for The Boston Globe, where she was a staff writer and critic for more than twenty years. In 2001, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. She lives in Cambridge, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Losing My Cool

    Try:
    A Strong West Wind
    by Gail Caldwell

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