Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson is the author of four novels, Faith and the Good Thing (1974), Oxherding Tale (1982), Middle Passage (1990), and Dreamer (Scribner, l998); three collection of short stories, The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1986) Soulcatcher and Other Stories (2001), and Dr. King’s Refrigerator and Other Bedtime Stories (2005); a work of aesthetics, Being and Race: Black Writing Since 1970 (1988); and two collections of comic art, Black Humor (1970) and Half-Past Nation Time (1972).


Johnson, a Ph.D. in Philosophy, 1998 MacArthur fellow and 2002 recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, received the 1990 National Book Award for Middle Passage (he was the first African-American male to win this prize since Ralph Ellison in 1953). Sorcerer's Apprentice was one of five finalists for the 1987 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Being and Race won a 1989 Govenor's Award for Literature. His short fiction is included in the O'Henry Prize Stories (1993), Best American Short Stories (1992), Best American Short Stories of the Eighties, and he was named in a survey conducted by the University of Southern California to be one of the ten best short story writers in America.


He served as fiction editor for the Seattle Review from 1978-98. In 1995 he received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Southern Illinois University, in 1994 an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Northwestern, in 1999 an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and in 2006 a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lewis and Clark College. A former director of the creative writing program at the University of Washington, he held an endowed chair, the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Professorship for Excellence in English, and currently teaches fiction.