Kevin Young is best known as a poet, author, and essayist, and is the poetry editor for the New Yorker magazine. In 2016, Young became the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research division of the New York Public Library. During his four-year tenure, Young secured several high-profile acquisitions, including the Harlem-based archives of Harry Belafonte, James Baldwin, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Sonny Rollins and Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Brathwaite and the manuscript of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, including a once-lost chapter and affiliated programs.
He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, most recently Brown (Knopf, 2018), as featured on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah; Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016), longlisted for the National Book Award; and Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets. His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His newest book of poetry, Stones, was one of Library Journal's Top Ten poetry titles of 2021, and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. His new children's book is titled Emile and the Field (RHCB/Make Me a World, March 15, 2022), illustrated by Chioma Ebinama.
Young’s second nonfiction book, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News (Graywolf Press, 2017), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Nonfiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” selection, and a “Best Book of 2017″ by NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smithsonian, Vogue, the Atlantic, Nylon, BuzzFeed, and Electric Literature. Young’s previous nonfiction book, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (Graywolf Press, 2012), won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award; it was also a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.
Young is the editor of nine other collections, including The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, 1965- 2010 (BOA Editions, 2012) and The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (Bloomsbury, 2012). He is the editor of the anthology African American Poetry 1770–2020: 250 Years of Struggle & Song (Library of America October 2020). He is series editor and wrote the introduction and forward for Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery & Abolition.
He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020. In March 2021 he was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in May he was elected as a Fellow of the Society of American Historians.
Morning Edition: Young's New Collection Of Poems, Called 'Stones,' Is About Life And Death (2021)
Washington Post: Lyrical leadership: Kevin Young, a poet, is now running the African American Museum (2021)
Time: 12 Questions for Kevin Young, Poet and the New Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2021)
NEH Humanities: Black Poetry Anthologized (2021)
New York Times: A Monumental and Rapturous New Anthology of Black American Poetry (2020)
Interview: Kevin Young on the Righteousness of Voting Rights (2020)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Kevin Young, poet, named new director of African American Museum (2020)
Time: 12 Leaders Who Are Shaping the Next Generation of Artists (2019)
NPR Morning Edition: Kevin Young Examines All Things 'Brown' (2018)
Washington Post - Liars, hucksters and fake news are nothing new: a history lesson in hoaxes (2017)
New York Times: Kevin Young Is Named Poetry Editor at The New Yorker (2017)
New York Times: The Dark Room Collective: Where Black Poetry Took Wing (2014)
Photo Maciek Jasik