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Ben H. Winters biography

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

Ben H. Winters
Photo: Mallory Talty

Ben H. Winters

Ben H. Winters Biography

Ben H. Winters is the New York Times bestselling author of The Quiet Boy, Underground Airlines, Golden State, and the Last Policeman trilogy. His books have won the Edgar Award, the Philip K. Dick award, the Sidewise Award, and France's Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire. Ben also writes for television, and lives in Los Angeles with his family.



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Interview

Ben H. Winters discusses his novel Underground Airlines set in a contemporary version of the USA in which the Civil War never happened and slavery is still legal in some parts of the country

Ben H. Winters is white, and the narrator of his new novel, Underground Airlines, is not. In fact, the narrator, Victor, is African-American, an ex-slave in a contemporary version of the United States with a speculative-fiction twist: the Civil War never happened, meaning that slavery is still legal (in portions of the country, anyway). Victor is a bounty hunter tasked with finding runaway slaves, which puts him in an understandably awkward (if that understatement will do here) position: he uses his race to ingratiate himself into the lives of other African-Americans whom he will eventually betray. This leads the character—and the novel—toward much soul-searching about what it means to be black in America. And once again, Ben H. Winters is white.

How do you feel about this basic fact of Underground Airlines? I ask, in part, because this issue arose in a conversation I recently had with a white bookseller who felt uncomfortable recommending the book in a store newsletter because of the author's—and the bookseller's own—race. This is a version of an old question that haunts writers: how do you gain the authority to tell the story you're telling? And, in this particular case: can a white author ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Ben H. Winters at BookBrowse
Big Time jacket Underground Airlines jacket The Last Policeman jacket The Last Policeman jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Ben H. Winters 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

  • Michael Chabon

    Michael Chabon

    Novelist, screenwriter, columnist and short story writer Michael Chabon was born May 24, 1963 in Washington, DC.   He grew up in the suburbs of Columbia, Maryland with his parents Robert, a physician, lawyer, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Underground Airlines

    Try:
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union
    by Michael Chabon

  • Claire Fuller

    Claire Fuller

    For first degree, Claire Fuller studied sculpture at Winchester School of Art. She began writing fiction at the age of 40, after many years working as a co-director of a marketing agency, she received a Masters degree (... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Big Time

    Try:
    The Memory of Animals
    by Claire Fuller

We recommend 9 similar authors

View all 9 Read-Alikes

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