Publishers Celebrate Harlem’s James Baldwin Centennial With Reissues

June 4, 2024

By Sophia Stewart Publishers Weekly

With the 100th birthday of author and civil rights activist James Baldwin on the horizon, a handful of publishers with Baldwin titles in their backlists have launched new publishing programs commemorating the event.

Boston-based independent publisher Beacon Press will publish a James Baldwin Centennial Series in celebration of the centennial. The series will reissue the three sections of Baldwin’s 1955 essay collection, Notes of a Native Son,as individual volumes: Everybody’s Protest Novel, slated for June 4, 2024; The Harlem Ghetto, slated for July 2; and Encounter on the Seine, slated for August 6.

“There is truly no greater honor for a press than having published James Baldwin…”

“There is truly no greater honor for a press than having published James Baldwin,” said Beacon Press director Gayatri Patnaik. “We know the impact that Notes of a Native Son had on the culture was immense and the story of how Beacon came to publish it is worth telling.” Beacon first published Notes of a Native Son in 1955.

On June 18, Vintage Books will publish deluxe editions of Baldwin’s novels Giovanni’s RoomGo Tell It on the Mountain, and If Beale Street Could Talk, featuring cover art by Beauford Delaney and new introductions by Kevin Young, Roxane Gay, and Brit Bennett, respectively. The three editions will also be collected in a box set.

In the U.K., Penguin Classics will reissue Baldwin’s No Name in the Street and Going to Meet the Man under the Penguin Modern Classics imprint in August. A selection of Baldwin’s novels and essay collections will also be made available in audio in the U.K. for the first time.

Finally, Duke University Press will offer a special discount throughout the year on Baldwin’s 1976 children’s book, Little Man, Little Man, in honor of Baldwin’s centennial year. Duke UP brought the book back into print in 2017.

A variety of programming is also planned across the country in honor of Baldwin’s 100th, slated not only for August 2 but throughout the year. The Bronx-based Literary Freedom Project, for instance, has dedicated all of its programs to Baldwin for the entirety of 2024; the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University in Virginia is hosting a 13-month series of Baldwin-related public events and community readings; the Arlington Public Library is hosting a three-month series of author talks on Baldwin; and this year’s fifth annual LIT Fest in Elm City, Conn., will have the theme “Baldwin Forever.”

Photo credit: Wiki.

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