Darryl Pinckney

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Darryl Pinckney
Born1953 (age 69–70)
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
EducationColumbia University (BA)
GenreNovelist, playwright
Notable worksHigh Cotton (1992)
Notable awardsWhiting Award (1986); Vursell Award for Distinguished Prose from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1994)
PartnerJames Fenton

Darryl Pinckney (born 1953 in Indianapolis, Indiana) is an American novelist, playwright, and essayist.

Early life[edit]

Pinckney grew up in a middle-class African-American family in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he attended local public schools. He was educated at Columbia University in New York City.[citation needed]


Some of Pinckney's first professional works were theatre texts, plays developed in collaboration with director Robert Wilson. These included the produced works of The Forest (1988) and Orlando (1989). Pinckney returned to theatre with Time Rocker (1995).

His first novel was High Cotton (1992), a semi-autobiographical novel about "growing up black and bourgeois" in 1960s America. His second novel was Black Deutschland (2016), about a young gay black man in Berlin in the late 1980s, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Pinckney is also a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, Granta, Slate, and The Nation. He frequently explores issues of racial and sexual identities, as expressed in literature.

In the 21st century, Pinckney has published two collections of essays on African-American literature. He has expressed his admiration for the writing of the long-running American CBS soap opera, As the World Turns.[1]


His 2022 book Come Back in September was a finalist for the 2023 National Book Critics Circle award in autobiography.[5]

Personal life[edit]

He is gay.[6] His partner is English poet James Fenton; the couple has been together since 1989.[7] Pinckney lives in New York City and Oxfordshire, England.[8]



Selected essays[edit]

  • "England, Whose England?". Granta (16: Science). Summer 1985. (Subscription Required)
  • "Lonely Hearts Club". Harper's. February 2010. February 2010.
  • "The Ethics of Admiration: Arendt, McCarthy, Hardwick, Sontag". The Threepenny Review. 135. Fall 2013.
  • Pinckney, Darryl (February 19, 2015). "Some Different Ways of Looking at Selma". The New York Review of Books.
  • Pinckney, Darryl (March 26, 2020). "Escaping Blackness". The New York Review of Books.
  • Pinckney, Darryl (August 20, 2020). "'We Must Act Out Our Freedom'". The New York Review of Books.
  • Pinckney, Darryl (November 5, 2020). "A Society on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown". The New York Review of Books.

Theatre texts[edit]


  1. ^ "Interview with Darryl Pinckney", On the Media, March 19, 2010.
  2. ^ "Darryl Pinckney | WHITING AWARDS". Whiting.org. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  3. ^ Buckley, Gail Lumet (November 8, 1992). "TIMES BOOK PRIZES 1992 : ART SEIDENBAUM AWARD for First Fiction : On 'High Cotton'". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Darryl Pinckney page at United Artists.
  5. ^ Varno, David (2023-02-01). "NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE ANNOUNCES FINALISTS FOR PUBLISHING YEAR 2022". National Book Critics Circle. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  6. ^ "Darryl Pinckney's Intimate Study of Black History". The New Yorker. November 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Jenkins, David (November 18, 2007). "James Fenton: 21st century renaissance man". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  8. ^ Pinckney, Darryl (February 8, 2010). "Lonely Hearts Club". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  9. ^ Smith, Zadie (November 26, 2019). "Darryl Pinckney's Intimate Study of Black History". The New Yorker.

External links[edit]