“Mitchell Jackson writes into Portland like Edward P. Jones writes into Washington, DC, with his judicious left eye on the full hearts of his characters and his vigilant right eye attuned to the wolf at their door. His classically orchestrated novel, The Residue Years, is suffused with humor, lyricism and compassion…Jackson is a powerfully confident writer, with an unerring ability to embody voices.”
—From the Whiting Award for Fiction citation
TED Fellow Mitchell S. Jackson is an all-too-rare success story. He grew up in a neglected neighborhood in Portland, Oregon in the crime-addled 1990s, where his life and the lives of those around him were shadowed by the crack epidemic. Jackson was almost a casualty of those circumstances when he went to prison for selling drugs. With his debut novel, he channels that hardship and others into eloquent prose that reveals his heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful story. A true survivor with a powerful gift for words, Jackson has announced himself as a bright new star in literary fiction—indeed, one of the most extraordinary breakout voices since Junot Díaz.
The Residue Years switches between the perspectives of a resourceful young man, Champ, and his drug-addicted mother, Grace. Grace is just out of a drug treatment program, trying to stay clean and get her kids back. Champ is trying to do right by his mom and younger brothers, and dreams of reclaiming the home he and his family once shared. But in his world of few options and little opportunity, selling crack is the only sure way he knows to achieve his dream. Honest in its portrayal, with cadences that dazzle, The Residue Years signals the arrival of a writer set to awe.
Jackson is also the author of Oversoul. In this hybrid collection of short stories and essays, Mitchell S. Jackson reveals the gifted ear of a poet, a journalist’s unsentimental eye, and a willingness to indulge in candid introspection. From the title story, about the struggles of a recently released ex-con, to “Serial Killers: There are no alibis,” an essay that dissects a particular breed of womanizing male, Jackson’s prose examines the conflicts that arise in those that see their dreams beaten back, realize the smallest of victories, and harbor a wavering faith in redemption.
Mitchell S. Jackson was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He holds an MA in writing from Portland State and an MFA from New York University. He teaches writing at Columbia and NYU. He also works as a journalist, writing about entertainment and sports for Vibe, The Source, and various other outlets. His fiction and poetry have appeared in several literary journals, and he is a winner of the Hurston Wright Award for College Writers, a fellowship from the Center for Fiction, and a Whiting Award for Fiction. He lives in New York and is a member of the 2016 class of TED Fellows. He is currently at work on a new novel, Survival Math.
For more information on Mitchell S. Jackson, please visit http://mitchellsjackson.com/.