ishmael reed

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Ishmael Reed is the author of nine novels, six plays, one opera libretto, six books of poetry, and six books of essays, and he is the editor of numerous anthologies and magazines. He is currently researching and writing a non-fiction book on Muhammad Ali, forthcoming in 2006 from Random House. His sixth play, Who's Who in the Tough Love Game, premiered at Berkeley's Black Repertory Theater in November, 2004 and will have its New York City premiere at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in 2005.

His collaborations with musicians have resulted in three CD collections: Conjure I and Conjure II from American Clave, most recently reissued by Rounder Records; and the forthcoming Conjure III from Blue Note, all produced by Kip Hanrahan.

His honors include: the 2004 Robert Hirsch Award from The Los Angeles Times for his book, Blues City, A Walk Through Oakland (Crown, 2003); a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award; The Otto Award for Political Theater; the Integrity Award from the Oakland Women's Chamber of Commerce; and the Chancellor's Award for Community Service from the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught creative writing courses for thirty-five years, retiring emeritus as of January, 2005.

During the 2005 Spring semester he is a Visiting Artist/Scholar at San Jose State University, holding the Lurie Chair in Creative Writing. He is also founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, which annually presents the American Book Awards and the Oakland chapter of PEN. His online literary magazine, Konch, can be found at