Paul Beatty

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Paul Beatty
Born 1962 (age 53–54)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Author, poet
Genre Fiction, poetry

Paul Beatty (born 1962 in Los Angeles) is a contemporary American author. Beatty received an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College and an MA in psychology from Boston University. He is a 1980 graduate of El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, California.

In 1990, Paul Beatty was crowned the first ever Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.[1] One of the prizes for winning that championship title was the book deal which resulted in his first volume of poetry, Big Bank Takes Little Bank.[2] This was followed by another book of poetry Joker, Joker, Deuce and appearances performing his poetry on MTV and PBS (in the series The United States of Poetry).[3] In 1993, he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.

His first novel, The White Boy Shuffle, received a positive review in The New York Times from reviewer Richard Bernstein who called the book "a blast of satirical heat from the talented heart of black American life."[4] His second book, Tuff, received a positive notice in Time Magazine.[5] In 2006, Beatty edited an anthology of African-American humor called Hokum and wrote an article in The New York Times on the same subject.[6] His 2008 novel Slumberland was about an American DJ in Berlin. In his 2015 novel The Sellout, Beatty chronicles an urban farmer who tries to spearhead a revitalization of slavery and segregation in a fictional Los Angeles neighborhood.

Awards and honors[edit]


Edited volume[edit]

  • Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor (2006)



  1. ^ Aptowicz, Cristin O'Keefe. (2008) Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. Soft Skull Press. Page 45. ISBN 1-933368-82-9.
  2. ^ Aptowicz, Page 46.
  3. ^ Aptowicz, Page 80.
  4. ^ "Black Poet's First Novel Aims the Jokes Both Ways", The New York Times 31 May 1996.
  5. ^ "Tuff", Time Magazine 1 May 2000.
  6. ^ "Black Humor", The New York Times 22 January 2006.
  7. ^ Alexandra Alter (March 17, 2016). "'The Sellout' Wins National Book Critics Circle's Fiction Award". New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 
  8. ^ Bernstein, Richard (1996-05-31). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES;Black Poet's First Novel Aims the Jokes Both Ways". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-05. 

External links[edit]