An Evening with Brian Keith Jackson

Critically acclaimed author Brian Keith Jackson will give a free reading Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Hatfield Room of the Mark O. Hatfield Library at Willamette University.

Jackson moved from Louisiana to New York in 1990 to pursue a career in the arts. Frustrated by images of black men in the media and their portrayal on stage and screen, he began writing plays, which were performed at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York for the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. For his efforts, he received fellowships from Art Matters, the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Jerome Foundation.

Jackson's debut novel, "The View from Here," won the First Fiction Award from the American Library Association Black Caucus and received a fellowship from the Millay Colony for the Arts. "The View from Here," about an African-American wife and mother trying to keep her family together in the face of prejudice and economic hardship, was a bestseller in South Africa. The New York Times Book Review wrote that Jackson's prose had "visceral pungency," while People magazine likened him to Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, calling the book a "triumph."

Jackson's second novel, "Walking Through Mirrors," is about a New York photographer who returns to his Louisiana roots and comes to terms with the flaws of his family. Kirkus Reviews wrote that it was "an intriguing and variant contribution. A lean and nicely told story." Paper Magazine wrote, "Jackson's prose prompts responses from both the head and the heart ... via delivery that is clearly thoughtful, yet never contrived."

His third novel, "The Queen of Harlem," won the Distinguished Writers Award from the Middle Atlantic Writers Association. The book is about a young African-American man raised in the suburbs who retreats from wealth and privilege to discover his true self.

Jackson has written about art and culture for The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Observer in London, Paper, Nylon magazine and Vibe magazine, and he has contributed to several anthologies and gallery and museum catalogs. He is currently working on his fourth novel, "SIC." He lives in Harlem.