Kevin Brown (author)

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Kevin Brown
BornSeptember 3, 1960
ResidenceSan Diego, California
NationalityUnited States
Alma materCity University of New York (CUNY)
OccupationWriter, critic, translator
Years activefrom 1978
OrganizationPEN American Center
RelativesIda Mae Roberson (see Countee Cullen)

Kevin Brown (born September 3, 1960) is a biographer, essayist and translator who has authored or contributed to three books.

Kevin Brown has published brief lives of Romare Bearden[1] and Malcolm X.[2] He was a contributing editor to The New York Public Library African American Desk Reference [3]

Since 1978, many of Brown's essays, articles and reviews on the visual arts, cinema, dance, literature, music and politics have appeared in Afterimage,[4] the American Book Review, American Visions, the Chicago Review, the Kansas City Star, Kirkus Reviews, the Times Literary Supplement, The Nation,[5] New York Newsday, the Oakland Tribune, the Threepenny Review[6] and the Washington Post Bookworld, among others.

Brown's 2005 translation into Spanish of Virginia Woolf's little known essay "Reviewing" appeared in the Iowa University journal of literary translation eXchanges.[7][not in citation given] His profile of translator Gregory Rabassa was published in 2006 by the University of Delaware's Review of Latin American Studies.[8]



Brown's mother, Duan Nimmons, was born (1940) in New York City, where her family had been active in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and early 1930s. His maternal great-grandmother was Ida Mae Roberson (later, Ida Cullen-Cooper), widow of Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen. Countee Cullen was a teacher at Frederick Douglass Junior High school, where James Baldwin was among his students. Prior to his marriage to Ida Mae Roberson, Countee Cullen had briefly been the son-in-law of W.E.B. Du Bois.[9]

Early life[edit]

Kevin Brown was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1960. Before primary school, he traveled around Western Europe and North Africa with his father, John Brown, a writer and running back with the late 1950s Iowa Hawkeyes football team that played against The University of California in the 1959 Rose Bowl. In the mid 1960s, John Brown met William S. Burroughs, Ted Joans and other writers associated with the Beat Generation in Tangier, Morocco.[9] In the late 60s, Kevin Brown lived in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco, attending Twin Peaks Elementary School. In the early 1970s, he lived in the Bay Area peninsula, in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, attending Ralston Middle School in Belmont, California, as well as Rancho Junior High and Samuel Ayer High School in Milpitas, California, a suburb of San Jose.[9] He graduated from Southeast High School in Kansas City, Missouri (1977). From 1978 to 1979, he lived in St. Louis, Missouri, reading, writing, waiting tables.[9]


From 1980 to 1984, in San Francisco, Brown studied Latin and Greek with a private tutor, reading widely in the works of the ancients and the French as well as contemporary post-war writers like Gore Vidal. He began publishing book reviews on writers like Zora Neale Hurston, Samuel Pepys and Virginia Woolf in newspapers such as the Oakland Tribune as well as longer essays on Spanish cinema[6] and James Baldwin in the Threepenny Review[6][9]

Higher education[edit]

In 1986, Brown moved to New York, attending the Columbia University School of General Studies for one year before transferring to the City University of New York. There, he double-majored in Spanish as well as Translating & Interpreting, completing his undergraduate degree in the CUNY Baccalaureate Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, headquartered at the Graduate Center. He studied with literary translator Gregory Rabassa, among others.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Brown lived in New York for 22 years, from 1985 to 2007, during which time he married and had a son. He returned to California in 2007, and currently lives in San Diego.[9]

Selected publications[edit]

In 1985, Brown worked as an editorial assistant in the publishing industry in New York, and contributed to the London Times Literary Supplement. From 1987 to 1989, Brown was a regular contributor to Kirkus Reviews, where he published book reviews on subjects as various as Africa, African-American writers, 20th century American poetry, Anglo-American common law, Australian-New Zealand writers, French history and literature, the Harlem Renaissance, music, photography, politics. During the 1990s, he traveled in Central America and Eastern Europe, contributed to the American Book Review, American Visions and New York Newsday, and contracted to begin work on a series of biographies on Romare Bearden, Malcolm X and Countee Cullen.[9]


  • Romare Bearden: Artist[1]
  • Malcolm X:His Life and Legacy[2]

Commissioned in 1993, just after the release of Spike Lee's movie on the same subject, Brown's second book attempts to chronicle the rise and fall of Malcolm X as well as that of rival leader Martin Luther King against the backdrop of the civil rights and black nationalist movements.[10]

Profiles and interviews[edit]

At Queens College and other campuses throughout the 23-college CUNY system, Kevin Brown studied both literary as well as technical translation with Gregory Rabassa and other faculty from Spain and Latin America. His profile-interview of Rabassa appeared in the University of Delaware's Review of Latin American Studies.[8]

Partial bibliography[edit]


  • Romare Bearden: Artist. New York: Chelsea House, 1994.
  • Malcolm X: His Life and Legacy. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1995.

Selected essays, articles & reviews[edit]

Contributing editor[edit]

  • Chapter 14: Music The New York Public Library African American Desk Reference[3]

Selected translations[edit]

As interviewer[edit]

  • "Gregory Rabassa: An Interview". Delaware Review of Latin American Studies, Vol. 7 No. 2 December 30, 2006.[8]

As interviewee[edit]

  • "Blueprint for Writing: An Interview with Kevin Brown". Harlem Arts Journal, Spring 2000.


  1. ^ a b Kevin Brown (1995). Romare Bearden. Chelsea House. ISBN 978-0-7910-1119-5. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b Kevin Brown (May 1995). Malcolm X: his life and legacy. Millbrook Press. ISBN 978-1-56294-500-8. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b The New York Public Library African American Desk Reference (September 1999). Kevin Brown, ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 367–400. ISBN 978-0-471-23924-6 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Afterimage | The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism". 2011-01-18. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  5. ^ a b "Kevin Brown". The Nation. 1963-08-27. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  6. ^ a b c (
  7. ^ "Splash Page - eXchanges Journal of Literary Translation - The University of Iowa". Archived from the original on 2011-01-05. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  8. ^ a b c Brown, Kevin (December 30, 2006). "Gregory Rabassa: An Interview". Delaware Review of Latin American Studies. 7 (2). Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Contemporary Authors New Revision Series: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Writers in Fiction, General Non-Fiction, Poetry, Journalism, Drama, Motion Pictures, Television, & Other Fields, Volume 116, pp. 47-50. Farmington Hills, Michigan, 2003. ISSN 0275-7176.
  10. ^ "Editorial Reviews". Amazon. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  11. ^ "Afterimage Search : Articles". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  12. ^ Brown, Kevin (May–June 2007). "IMAGES OF THE SPIRIT". Entrepreneur Media, Inc. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  13. ^ "eXchanges Journal of Literary Translation : Winter 2006 : The University of Iowa". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  14. ^ a b "Latino/a Voices Digital Collection". Archived from the original on 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  15. ^ "CONTENTdm Collection : Compound Object Viewer". 2007-07-27. Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  16. ^ "CONTENTdm Collection : Compound Object Viewer". 2007-07-13. Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2011-01-26.