James Hannaham

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James Hannaham
James Hannaham self-portrait collage

James Hannaham (born 1968[1]) is a writer, performer, and visual artist. His novel Delicious Foods (2015), which deals with human trafficking, won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was named one of Publishers Weekly's top ten books of the year. The New York Times called it an “ambitious, sweeping novel of American captivity and exploitation.”[2]

He studied art at Yale University and in 1992 began working in the art department of The Village Voice as well as writing for the paper.[3] Later he studied creative writing at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. His debut novel, God Says No (2009), was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.[4] He has published fiction in One Story, Fence, StoryQuarterly, and BOMB. He reviews theater and art for 4Columns.[5]

He cofounded the New York–based performance group Elevator Repair Service and worked with them 1992–2002. His text-based artworks often satirize the theoretical jargon that is used to describe visual art;[6] his 2014 gallery show "Card Tricks" consisted of descriptive placards for fictive artworks, with titles such as "Planet" and "Nothing."[7]

In 2020 his work Everything Is Normal, Everything Is Normal, Everything Is Fine, Everything Is Fine was judged Best in Show at a national juried exhibition of artist books and text-based visual works, Biblio Spectaculum.[8]

Hannaham is a professor in the writing program at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Hannaham was born in the Bronx and grew up in Yonkers, NY, where his mother was an investigative journalist. His early experience was marked by the legal battle to end segregation in the Yonkers schools, which his mother covered for the radio.[10] His cousin is the artist Kara Walker, who illustrated the cover of Delicious Foods.[11] He is gay.[12]


  1. ^ "Recensies over: James Hannaham - Aardse Vruchten - Zin.nl". Zin.nl (in nl-NL). 2016-01-08. Retrieved 2018-04-20.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  2. ^ "100 Notable Books of 2015". The New York Times (in American English). 2015-11-27. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  3. ^ "The Village Voice: An Art Directors' History". SPD.ORG: Grids. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  4. ^ Dinh, Viet (2010-06-24). "'God Says No' by James Hannaham". Lambda Literary (in American English). Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  5. ^ "James Hannaham | The School of The New York Times". The School of The New York Times (in American English). Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  6. ^ "Pushcart XL: James Hannaham, "Artist's Statement" (non-fiction) from Gigantic #6". A Just Recompense (in American English). 2016-04-17. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  7. ^ Klee, Miles (2014-04-29). "James Hannaham gallery show masterfully trolls the art world" (in American English). Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  8. ^ "Biblio Spectaculum". Main Street Arts (in American English). Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  9. ^ "Pratt Institute". www.pratt.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  10. ^ Hannaham, James (2015-03-20). "Why I Became a Southern Writer". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  11. ^ "James Hannaham: A Safe Distance". Guernica (in American English). 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  12. ^ "Gay author James Hannaham wins PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction". 17 April 2016.

External links[edit]