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2008-09 Selected Bookbook cover

Middle Passage

About a newly freed slave in 1830s New Orleans who leads a revolt aboard a slave clipper bound for Africa, Middle Passage received the 1990 National Book Award for fiction. Author Charles Johnson was the second African-American male to write the winning national book (Ralph Ellison received the honor for Invisible Man in 1953).

Johnson teaches fiction at the University of Washington where he is the Pollock Professor for Excellence in English. He is the author of 16 books including novels, short story collections, essays and criticism. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from SUNY in 1988.