Ishmael Reed is the winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (genius award), the renowned L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award. He has been nominated for a Pulitzer and finalist for two National Book Awards and is Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley; and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, which promotes multicultural American writing. The American Book Awards, sponsored by the foundation has been called The American League to the National Book Awards’ National League. He also founded PEN Oakland which issues the Josephine Miles Literary Awards. PEN Oakland has been called “The Blue-Collar PEN” by The New York Times.
Reed is the author of more than thirty titles including the acclaimed novel Mumbo Jumbo, as well as non-fiction, plays and poetry. His other novels include: The Freelance Pallbearers; Yellow Back Radio Broke Down; Flight To Canada; The Last Days Of Louisiana Red; Reckless Eyeballing; The Terrible Twos; The Terrible Threes; Japanese By Spring; Juice!; Conjugating Hindi and most recently the play, The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, which has been described by The New York Times as “classic activist theater” and “a cross between ‘A Christmas Carol’ and a trial at The Hague’s International Criminal Court.”
In a September 1, 2020 article in Down to Earth Magazine, writer Clare Corbould speaks about Black Panther, Ishmael Reed and Afrofuturism stating, “Black Panther draws on an artistic movement known as Afrofuturism, in which knowledge about past violence and injustice inform an imagined future built on equality. Afrofuturists have included novelists Sutton E. Griggs and George Schuyler in the early days, and later Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, and Ishmael Reed, and now N. K. Jemisin and Colson Whitehead.