Before the glove; before the anorexia and addictions; before the moonwalk and crotch grabs and Fred Astaire’s admiration and envy; before his color faded and his nose shriveled. . .

Once More to the Ghetto and Other Essays is a collection of linked explorations of race, identity, family, and community. Combining spare, unflinching prose with a razor sharp wit, Walker takes on both individual and institutionalized forms of bias and racism, pulling no punches and sparing no one, including himself, in this exciting new collection from one of America's most acclaimed essayists. Whether he’s tackling the complicated legacy of Michael Jackson, exposing the myopia of academia, paying homage to his writing mentor, or exploring what it means to come home again to Chicago, Jerald Walker’s work seamlessly blends humor, personal revelation, and cultural critique.


Advance praise

"This piercing and restless collection of essays slices through this country's agitated racial landscape—and the author's wryly insightful view of it—with a tenacity of a thunderbolt. Walker manages to be all of us—we are all the college English department's pet token, we are all the potential Whole Foods crime wave, we are all the Negro middle American agonizing over a return trip to the implosive inner city from whence we came. These fresh, revelatory snippets of black life deserve a rollicking collective Amen! and an audience of both the converted and the curious."
Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art

"Ignited by the everyday sparks of racial conflict—whether on a college campus or an aisle at Whole Foods—these extraordinarily candid essays crackle with dramatic tension. As 'race stories,' they also add a creative and subtle twist to an issue too often expressed in predictable polemics. This new collection establishes Jerald Walker as truly one of the most gifted essayists of our time."
Robert Atwan, Series Editor/The Best American Essays

"If there is a book you need to read in a time when our country is about to devour itself—it is Once More to the Ghetto. Walker’s sharp voice cuts through the social malaise of our culture, delivering intimate moments of his life—from a boy in South Chicago to a young student writer trying to find voice amid a myriad of black stereotypes to a father raising two boys in a divided country. These essays enlighten us through depth and complexity of thought and the veracity of experience."
Ira Sukrungruang, author of Buddha’s Dog and Other Meditations

"I’ve been waiting for this, the first collection of essays by one of our best essayists, for years. Jerald Walker’s Once More to the Ghetto is notable for its persistence of vision, meaning how relentlessly humane these essays are even as they stare into America’s split, racist heart. And like America and Americans, this book is both funny and fucked up, and neither can exist without the other. The effect reminds me of the thaumatrope, that 19th century optical toy with a bird drawn on one side of a disc and an empty cage on the other, how when spun quickly the two images appear superimposed. Walker’s essays do this too. He’s faster than me and faster than you."
Ander Monson, author of Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions

Stay tuned for more advance praise

Jerald Walker is the author of The World In Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult and Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion and Redemption, winner of the PEN New England/L. L. Winship Award for Nonfiction. He is a professor of creative writing at Emerson College and his writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mother Jones, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, Oxford American, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Creative Nonfiction, as well as four times in Best American Essays.


early-bird orders available now

Jerald Walker - $14.50

Once More to the Ghetto and Other Essays by Jerald Walker is the first title in The Normal School Nonfiction Book Series.

Additional advance praise, reviews and other details forthcoming.
Get in touch to request a review copy.




Jerald Walker
Once More To The Ghetto And Other Essays
120 pages
$14.50 paperback ISBN 9781944853631
$9.99 ebook

June 2019








early-bird orders available now:

Jerald Walker - $14.50

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