“Writing,” Richard Wright once said, “is my way of being a free man.” In this engaging biography, Hazel Rowley chronicles Wright’s extraordinary journey from a sharecropper’s shack in Mississippi to international renown as a writer, fiercely independent thinker, and outspoken critic of racism. Skillfully interweaving quotations from Wright’s writings, Rowley portrays a man who transcended the times in which he lived and sought to reconcile opposing cultures in his work. She draws on recently discovered material to shed new light on Wright’s relationships with Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, and others, and on his self-imposed exile in France (widely blamed for his so-called decline as a writer). In this lively, finely crafted narrative, Wright – passionate, complex, courageous, and flawed – comes vibrantly to life.
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