Ravi Howard

2016 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book Award; 2008 Winner  of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence


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The art of fiction is an art of make-believe. When I first read the quote by Albert Murray, I wanted to keep it at the center of my approach to writing and recreating historical moments, some real and some made real through the process and craft of writing. My speaking engagements give me a chance to share my interpretation of Murray’s idea and my views on teaching, writing, and building aesthetic communities.

Ravi Howard tells a thoroughly convincing story about the singing star Nat King Cole’s best friend…. [A] warmly enveloping book…. Appealing. — New York Times

A moving tale about bigotry and the power of friendship. — People

Excellent…moving….Weary is a marvelous character…. Readers who appreciate beautifully written, compelling novels with great depth and humanity will be more than pleased. — Philadelphia Inquirer

 Heartbreaking…. A bold reimagining of [the] civil rights era…. Howard’s choices…are daring. —Los Angeles Times

By following Howard’s characters, we are allowed a sidelong but penetrating glimpse into one of the most important events in American history…. Howard bends history…proving that the past can be best felt through refracted light rather than under the harsh glare of historical fact. —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“In an easygoing style, with Weary as his guide, Howard pokes into under-viewed corners of the fight while never losing sight of the humanity of both the cause and its effects.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Howard brings readers back in time to postwar Alabama, in this velvety smooth fictional memoir. . . . [His] prose goes down like the top-shelf whiskey that Weary favors, making for a heady reading experience. — Publishers Weekly (starred review

“Through unfussy language and well-formed characters...gifted novelist Howard...takes readers of all races, ages and classes into the world of pre-civil rights era black people, offering insight on and understanding of one of our country’s most tumultuous periods.” (BookPage)


Ravi Howard is the author of two books of fiction, Like, Trees, Walking (HarperCollins, 2007) and Driving the King (HarperCollins, 2015). He has received fellowships and awards from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, the Hurston-Wright Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to being selected as a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, Like, Trees, Walking, his first novel, won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence (2008). He has taught fiction with the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops, the Kimbilio Fiction Retreat, and Minnesota Northwoods, and he is an assistant professor of creative writing at Florida State University.

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