Charles Johnson

Professor Emeritus
Photo of Charles Johnson

Contact Information


B.S., Southern Illinois University, 1971
M.A., Southern Illinois University, 1973
Ph.D., SUNY, Stoneybrook, NY, 1988

He is the Pollock Professor of English, author of 16 books, among them the novels Middle Passage, Oxherding Tale, Faith and the Good Thing, and Dreamer; the story collections: The Sorcerer's Apprentice (nominated for a PEN/Faulkner award), Soulcatcher and Other Stories, and Dr. King's Refrigerator and Other Bedtime Stories; and works of philosophy and criticism such as Being and Race: Black Writing Since 1970 and Turning the Wheel: Essays on Buddhism and Writing. He is also a screenwriter, essayist, professional cartoonist, international lecturer, and for 20 years served as fiction editor of Seattle Review/, He received the 1990 National Book Award (fiction) for Middle Passage, NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, a Writers Guild Award for his PBS drama "Booker," two Washington State Governor's Awards for literature, the Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and numerous other prizes and honorary degrees. Students are encouraged to submit work to the "Charles Johnson Fiction Award" at Southern Illinois University. In 1998 he received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship ("genius" grant), and in 2003 literary scholars founded the Charles Johnson Society at the American Literature Association