"This World Is Not My Home"
A Critical Biography of African American Writer Charles Wright
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
In the 1960s, Charles Wright’s (1932–2008) star was on the rise. After dropping out of high school and serving in the Korean War, the young Black writer landed in New York, where he was mentored by Norman Mailer, signed a book deal with a leading publisher, and was celebrated by the likes of Langston Hughes and James Baldwin.
Over the decades to follow, Wright would lead a peripatetic and at times precarious life, moving between Tangier, Veracruz, Paris, and New York, penning a regular column for the Village Voice, living off the goodwill of his friends, and battling addiction and, later, mental health issues. As W. Lawrence Hogue shows, Wright’s innovative fiction stands apart, offering a different vision of outcast Black Americans in the postwar era and using satire to bring agency and humanity to working-class characters. This critical biography—the first devoted to Wright’s significant but largely forgotten story—brings new attention to the writer’s impressive body of work, in the context of a wild, but troubled, life.
Chapter One: The Missouri Years
Chapter Two: Arriving in New York City
Chapter Three: The Messenger
Chapter Four: The Years in Tangier
Chapter Five: The Return to New York and the publication of The Wig
Chapter Six: The Seventies and the Village Voice
Chapter Seven: After Absolutely Nothing to Get Alarmed About and the Hodenfields
Chapter Eight: The Eighties
Chapter Nine: The Nineties
Chapter Ten: The Two Thousands
“This fascinating biography of Charles Wright covers Morocco, Mexico, Europe, and points in the United States where he encounters sections of society rarely attended to. Hogue does an excellent job of making us understand Wright’s importance, his failures, his struggles, and the major contribution of his work to American and African American literary culture.”—Mary Helen Washington, author of The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s
“Though Charles Wright left little in the way of papers behind, Hogue’s dogged pursuit of leads has given us the most complete documentary record of this important Black writer—someone whose queer, surreal, and satirical fiction no doubt anticipates the main currents of Black studies in the second decade of the twenty-first century.”—Kinohi Nishikawa, author of Street Players: Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground