James McBride

Author and Journalist
Distinguished Writer in Residence, New York University

James McBride is an author, musician and screenwriter. His landmark memoir, 'The Color of Water,' rested on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. It is considered an American classic and is read in schools and universities across the United States. His debut novel, 'Miracle at St. Anna' was translated into a major motion picture directed by American film icon Spike Lee. James wrote the script for 'Miracle At St. Anna and co-wrote Spike Lee's 2012 'Red Hook Summer.' His latest novel 'The Good Lord Bird,' about American revolutionary John Brown, is the winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.

James toured as a saxophonist sideman with jazz legend Jimmy Scott, among others. He has also written songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., Purafe, Gary Burton, and even for the PBS television character 'Barney.' He received the Stephen Sondheim Award and the Richard Rodgers Foundation Horizon Award for his musical 'Bo-Bos' co-written with playwright Ed Shockley.  

James is a native New Yorker and a graduate of  New York City public schools. He studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and received his Masters in Journalism from Columbia University in New York at age 22. He holds several honorary doctorates and is currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.