Jeffery Renard Allen

Born and raised in Chicago, Jeffery Renard Allen is author of books of fiction and poetry, including the celebrated novel Song of the Shank. Winner of the CLMP Firecracker Award, the novel was also a Dublin Literary Award nominee and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Allen’s other accolades include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Fiction, the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, a grant in Innovative Literature from Creative Capital, a Whiting Writers' Award, a residency at the Bellagio Center, and fellowships at The Center for Scholars and Writers, the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Allen has sought to support emerging writers and literary culture on the African continent through the Pan African Literary Forum and the Jahazi Jazz and Literature Festival in Zanzibar. Now he has created Taint, an innovative online magazine that will also become involved in staging conferences and other events. The Taint Writer’s Workshop and Retreat will take place in Marrakesh in June 2022. Also in 2022, Graywolf Press will publish Allen’s collection of stories, Fat Time.

Allen makes his home in Johannesburg, where he is at work on several projects, including the memoir Mother Wit and Stanley Falls: Seven Beauties, a reimagining of historian George Washington Williams around his efforts to end slavery in the Congo.

A portrait of the author and writer Jeffery Renard Allen. He is wearing a black shirt.

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