Thursday, Mar 07, 2019 7:00 PM
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
In a thrillingly alive, candid new work, award-winning author Mitchell S. Jackson takes us inside the drug-ravaged neighborhood and struggling family of his youth, while examining the cultural forces—large and small—that led him and his family to this place.
About the Book
With a poet’s gifted ear, a novelist’s sense of narrative, and a journalist’s unsentimental eye, Mitchell S. Jackson candidly explores his tumultuous youth in the other America. "Survival Math" takes its name from the calculations Mitchell and his family made to keep safe—to stay alive—in their community, a small black neighborhood in Portland, Oregon blighted by drugs, violence, poverty, and governmental neglect.
"Survival Math" is both a personal reckoning and a vital addition to the national conversation about race. Mitchell explores the Portland of his childhood, tracing the ways in which his family managed their lives in and around drugs, prostitution, gangs, and imprisonment as members of a tiny black population in one of the country’s whitest cities. He discusses sex work and serial killers, gangs and guns, near-death experiences, composite fathers, the concept of “hustle,” and the destructive power of drugs and addiction on family.
In examining the conflicts within his family and community, Jackson presents a microcosm of struggle and survival in contemporary urban America—an exploration of the forces that shaped his life, his city, and the lives of so many black men like him. As Jackson charts his own path from drug dealer to published novelist, he gives us a heartbreaking, fascinating, lovingly rendered view of the injustices and victories, large and small, that defined his youth.
If you are unable to attend this event, you may pre-order a signed copy below.
About the Author
Mitchell S. Jackson is the author of "Survival Math". His debut novel "The Residue Years" was praised by publications, including The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Times (London). The novel won the Ernest Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence, and it was also a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Jackson’s honors include fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, TED, the Lannan Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Salon, and Tin House, among other publications. He serves on the faculty at New York University and Columbia University.