Black History Month: Authors

Happy Black History Month! This February, in honor of Black History Month, MOI will be featuring different people we work with. We want to celebrate their successes and share how excited we are about what they're doing. First up: authors we've partnered with!


Marlon James

"Up, Up, and Away" guest author

Meet Marlon James, a celebrated novelist! James is the author of three novels: John Crow's DevilThe Book of Night Women, and A Brief History of Seven Killings. His most recent work, A Brief History of Seven Killings, won the Man Booker Prize in 2015. Though he was born in Jamaica, James has been a professor at Macalester College in our very own St. Paul since 2007. He's also an MOI board member!

In addition, Marlon James partnered with MOI to write the foreword for our very first Young Authors' Book Project, Up, Up, and Away. In it, he offered young authors the advice to stay imaginative, because that's the core tenet of writing.

Writers know that it is essential for their art that they never grow up, so you could say that what you are about to read are writers already at the peak of their powers.
— Marlon James, "Up, Up, and Away"


Danez Smith


"The Bold, Untold North" guest author

Meet Danez Smith, an acclaimed poet! Smith is a St. Paul native who has been on the rise. Smith is the author of numerous poetry collections and chapbooks, including Dinosaurs in the Hood, [insert] Boy, and Don't Call Us Dead. Recently, Smith was named a finalist for the National Book Award for poetry for Don't Call Us Dead.

In 2017, Smith won a National Endowment for the Arts grant. In their free time, they are working with MOI this year to write the foreword to this year's Young Authors' Book Project, The Bold, Untold North.

MOI will be celebrating all month with features and reading lists, so keep an eye out all month for more Black History Month blog posts!