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James McBride biography

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

James McBride

James McBride

James McBride Biography

James McBride is an accomplished musician and author of the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, the #1 bestselling American classic The Color of Water, and the bestsellers Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna. He is also the author of Kill 'Em and Leave, a James Brown biography. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal in 2016, McBride is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

James McBride's website

This bio was last updated on 07/28/2023. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Interview

In three interviews, James McBride talks about his novels The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, Song Yet Sung, and The Miracle at St. Anna. Amongst many other topics, he discusses the importance of love and kindness, the complicated relationships that existed during slavery, and the reality of being an African American serviceman in Europe during World War II.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store starts in 1972 when construction workers in Pottstown, Pa., find a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of secrets kept by the people who live on Chicken Hill, a neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side. What do you think the novel is about and what inspired you to write it?

It's about a town, the people in it, and the power of love. I'm trying to tell people that kindness moves the earth, that small choices you make today towards the good can create great justice tomorrow, and that cynicism is like eating poison and expecting your enemy to die.

The novel is also a moving portrait of life for African Americans and Jews in the middle of the 20th century. How do you see this book fitting into our current cultural and political conversations about racism, prejudice, and poverty?

We've been having the same conversation about race, prejudice, and poverty my entire life. Here's the narrative that's killing us: "This country was nothing but woods until white people came." Serve that up, along with a generous swab of self-righteous Christianity, and you're on your way to destroying...

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Books by this Author

Books by James McBride at BookBrowse
The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store jacket Deacon King Kong jacket Five-Carat Soul jacket The Good Lord Bird jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for James McBride 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

  • Nana  Nkweti

    Nana Nkweti

    Nana Nkweti is a Caine Prize finalist and alumna of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work has garnered fellowships from MacDowell, Kimbilio, Ucross, and the Wurlitzer Foundation, among others. She is a professor of English at ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Five-Carat Soul

    Try:
    Walking on Cowrie Shells
    by Nana Nkweti

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba, in Anambra State, but grew up in the university town of Nsukka where she attended primary and secondary schools and briefly studied Medicine and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Deacon King Kong

    Try:
    Americanah
    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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