Thomas Chatterton Williams is the author of Self-Portrait in Black and White, Losing My Cool, a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, and a regular contributor to the New Yorker and the LRB. He is a 2019 New America Fellow and the recipient of a Berlin Prize. He lives in Paris with his wife and children.
Thomas Chatterton Williams has the essential things a writer needs: command of language, complexity and depth of thought, and, maybe above all, courage. In Self-Portrait in Black and White he sticks his neck way out in pursuit of unfashionable, necessary truths. This book brings a blast of fresh air that will change your thinking about race - George Packer, author of The Unwinding Thomas Chatterton Williams' Self-Portrait in Black and White is a gorgeously written and deeply knowledgeable account of fatherhood, identity, and race. Tender and probing, respectful of intellectual disagreement and of the raw emotions these subjects can stir, it nevertheless proceeds fearlessly and rigorously toward his own original and challenging conclusions. This is a book that will surely provoke, inform, and move readers, regardless of where they stand on the political and philosophical divide - Phil Klay, author of Redeployment An elegantly rendered and trenchantly critical reflection on 'race' and identity: one that is perfectly suited to our time. This is a subtle, unsettling, and brave book. Using his own journey through life as point of departure, Thomas Chatterton Williams launches a major assault on the conventional wisdom about racial categorization in America. Not only does he envision a New World; he dares to point the way toward how we all might yet arrive on those uncharted shores - Glenn Loury, professor of economics and faculty fellow, Watson Institute, Brown University This moving and engrossing memoir is unfashionable in the best of ways. At a time when even purportedly optimistic visions of the future seem to assume that Americans will always be defined by the color of their skin, Thomas Chatterton Williams makes us dream of a future in which the importance of race will recede, and we are finally able to love each other for who we truly are. An energizing book by one of the greatest writers of our time - Yascha Mounk, author of The People vs. Democracy In fifty years, smart students will be writing senior theses seeking to understand why anyone in the early 21st century found anything in Self-Portrait in Black and White at all controversial. For now, curl up with this book to join a conversation on race about progress rather than piety, thought rather than therapy - John McWhorter, author of The Creole Debate A standout memoir that digs into vital contemporary questions of race and self-image....succeeds spectacularly for three main reasons: the author's relentlessly investigative thought process, consistent candor, and superb writing style. Almost every page contains at least one sentence so resonant that it bears rereading for its impact....An insightful, indispensable memoir. - Kirkus (starred review)