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BIO: Al Young
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Born May 31 1939 at Ocean Springs, Mississippi on the Gulf Coast near Biloxi, Al Young grew up in the South and in Detroit. From 1957-1960 he attended the University of Michigan, where he co-edited Generation, the campus literary magazine. In 1961 he emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Settling at first in Berkeley, he held a variety of colorful jobs (folksinger, lab aide, disk jockey, medical photographer) before graduating from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Spanish. From 1969-1976 he was Edward B. Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford near Palo Alto, where he lived and worked for three decades. In 2000 he moved back to Berkeley.

Young has taught poetry and fiction writing at U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, Foothill College, the Colorado College, Rice University, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan, the University of Arkansas, and San José State University.

His honors include Wallace Stegner, Guggenheim, Fulbright National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the PEN-Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, the PEN-USA Award for Non-Fiction, the American Book Award, the Pushcart Prize, and two New York Times Notable Book of the year citations. Young's many books include novels, collections of poetry, essays, memoirs and anthologies. His work has appeared in the Paris Review, Ploughshares, Essence, the New York Times, Chicago Review, Seattle Review, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Letters, Chelsea, Rolling Stone, and the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. He has written film scripts for Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor.

Al Young travels internationally and extensively, reading, lecturing
and often performing with musicians. His poetry and prose have been translated into Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, German, and other languages. Current projects: A Piece of Cake (a novel), Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: Or, Opus de Funk (an account in verse of Lord Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb's infamous romance), a screen adaptation of Seduction By Light, his 1988 Hollywood novel); and volume two of The Literature of California, co-edited with scholar-critic Jack Hicks, and novelists James D. Houston and Maxine Hong Kingston.


· Wallace Stegner Writing Fellowship, 1966

· National Arts Council Award for Magazine Editing (Loveletter), 1969

· Joseph Henry Jackson Award for Poetry, 1969

· CCLM Award for Poetry, 1969

· American Library Association Notable Book of the Year Citation for Snakes, 1970

· Guggenheim Fellowship, 1974

· NEA Writing Fellowship for Fiction, 1975

· NEA Special Projects Grant, 1970

· Pushcart Prize, 1976 and 1980

· New York Times Notable Book of the Year Citation for Ask Me Now, 1980

· Guest American Poet, Perth Festival, Western Australia, 1981

· Mellon Distinguished Professor of Humanities (Rice University), 1982

· Key to the City of Detroit, 1982

· Detroit Board of Education Outstanding Achievement Citation, 1982

· American Book Award for Bodies & Soul, 1982

· Honored Guest Performer, Meeting per L'Amicizia fra i Popoli (Rimini, Italy), 1983 and 1984

· "An Evening with Al Young," 10th Annual Foothill Community College Creative Writing Conference, 1984

· Fulbright Fellowship, Yugoslavia, 1984

· Keynote Speaker, Associated Writing Programs Annual Meeting, Chicago, 1986

· Resident, Artists House, Pamela Djerassi Foundation, Woodside, CA, 1986

· The Ploughshares Rita and Mel Cohen Award for Poetry, 1987

· Board Member, California Council on Humanities, 1987-1991

· Outstanding Artist Award, San Francisco Arts Commission, 1987

· Outstanding Writer (Peninsula Book Club of California), 1990

· Lecturer and Touring Writer, Bangladesh and India, Arts America Program, U.S. Information Service, 1990

· PEN/Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, 1991

· Guest Participant, African Americans and Europe Conference, W.E.B. DuBois Institute (Harvard) / Institute de Monde Anglophone, the Sorbonne, Paris, 1992

· Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Fellowship Lecturer, 1992-1994

· Visiting Mentor, The Loft, Minneapolis, MN, 1993
· Guest Editor, Ploughshares (Emerson College, Boston, MA), 1993

· Martin Luther King, Jr. / César Chávez / Rosa Parks Award (University of Michigan, Office of the Provost for Minority Affairs), 1993

· Woodrow Wilson Lecturer, 1995-1999

· Featured Performer (with guitarist Adlai Alexander and bassist Jeff Saxton), Monterey Jazz Festival, "Words & Music," September 1995

· Rockefeller Distinguished Lecturer, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Spring 1995

· Guest Lecturer and Performer, "JazzToldTales" Conference on Jazz and Literature, University of Bologna, Italy, November 1995

· Board Member, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, since 1995

· Teacher-Consultant, Monterey Jazz Festival's Jazz Plus Program, Monterey High School, Monterey, CA, 1995-1996

· Keynote Speaker, California Association of Teachers of English 37th Annual Convention, San Francisco, 1996

· Recipient PEN/USA Award for Drowning in the Sea of Love (Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year), 1996

· American Artist Abroad (Corridors of Culture Program, United States Information Agency): Egypt, Israel, 1997

· American Artist Abroad (United States Information Agency): Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, 1998

· Visiting Poet, Saint Mary's College, Moraga, CA, Spring 2000

· Keynote Speaker, Conference on College Composition and Communication, Denver, CO, Spring 2001

· Lecturer, Black History Month (U.S. Department of State): Kuwait, Bahrain, 2001

· Faculty, Prague Summer Seminars, Czech Republic, 2001

· Lurie Professor of Creative Writing, San José State University, Spring 2002

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