Jesse McCarthy in conversation with Ernest Julius Mitchell
Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 6:00 p.m. PT / 9:00 p.m. ET, This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform.


discussing Jesse McCarthy's new book

Who Will Pay Reparations On My Soul: Essays

published by Liveright Books/W.W. Norton

Check out these two glowing reviews from Claire Messud at Harpers and Jerald Walker at the New York Times


This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform. You will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing the internet. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.


Event is free, but registration is required.

(Click Here) to register.


(Click Here) to purchase book.


Ranging from Ta-Nehisi Coates's case for reparations to D'Angelo's simmering blend of R&B and racial justice, Jesse McCarthy's dazzling essays capture debates at the intersection of art, literature, and politics in the twenty-first century with virtuosic intensity.

In "Notes on Trap," McCarthy borrows a conceit from Susan Sontag to dissect the significance of trap music in American society, while in "The Master's Tools," Velázquez becomes a lens through which to view Kehinde Wiley's paintings. Essays on John Edgar Wideman, Terrance Hayes, and Claudia Rankine survey the state of black letters. In "The Time of the Assassins," McCarthy, a black American raised in France, writes about returning to Paris after the Bataclan massacre and finding a nation in mourning but dangerously unchanged. Taken together, these essays portray a brilliant critic at work, making sense of our dislocated times while seeking to transform our understanding of race and art, identity and representation.

Jesse McCarthy is assistant professor of English and African American studies at Harvard University. He is an editor at the Point and has written for n+1, Dissent, the Nation, and the New Republic. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ernest Julius Mitchell is a scholar of the Black Renaissance at Harvard University; he studies the literary, religious, and theoretical aspects of modernist writing. His first book (under contract with Yale University Press) is a biography of the leftist Jamaican writer Claude McKay. He is also the editor of a forthcoming centenary edition of Jean Toomer's Cane (under contract with the Norton Library). A third book project, based on his recently completed dissertation, is an academic monograph on the fictional and ethnographic works of Zora Neale Hurston, read through the lens of her novel Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939).


This event has been sponsored by the City Lights Foundation


Books related to this event:

Product image
Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul?
Jesse McCarthy
2021 Edition
A supremely talented young critic's essays on race and culture, from Toni Morrison to trap, herald the arrival of a major new voice in American letters.