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Randall Horton – In Person

April 8, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Magic City Books, Tri-City Collective, Tulsa Artist Fellowship along with Joel Daniel Phillips & Quraysh Ali Lansana present a reading by Randall Horton for the release of his latest book, Dead Weight, a Memoir in Essays. This event is free and open to the public.
Dead Weight chronicles the improbable turnaround of a drug smuggler who, after being sentenced to eight years in state prison, returned to society to earn a PhD in creative writing and become the only tenured professor in the United States with seven felony convictions. Horton’s visceral essays highlight the difficulties of trying to change one’s life for the better, how the weight of felony convictions never dissipates.

The memoir begins with a conversation between Horton and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man statue in New York City. Their imagined dialogue examines the psychological impact of racism on Black men and boys, including Horton’s separation from his mother, immediately after his birth, in a segregated Alabama hospital. From his current life as a professor and prison reformer, Horton looks back on his experiences as a drug smuggler and trafficker during the 1980s-1990s as well as the many obstacles he faced after his release. He also examines the lasting impact of his drug activity on those around him, reflecting on the allure of economic freedom and the mental escapism that cocaine provided, an allure so strong that both sellers and users were willing to risk prison. Horton shares historical context and vivid details about people caught in the war on drugs who became unsuspecting protagonists in somebody else’s melodrama.Lyrical and gripping, Dead Weight reveals the lifelong effects of one man’s incarceration on his psyche, his memories, and his daily experience of American society.

Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award for Creative Nonfiction and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. In addition, Randall has been interviewed on Fox News, NPR, CTNPR, CSPAN, the New Haven Register and countless journals, magazines and radio shows. He currently sits on the Advisory Board of Pen America’s Pen Prison Writing Program. In 2018-2019 Randall was selected as Poet-in-Residence for the Civil Rights Corps in Washington DC, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the American legal system. Randall has conducted workshops, lectured and toured numerous adult and juvenile detention centers across the nation to provide encouragement and hope for those entangled within the legal system. He is very interested in eradicating the language of incarceration that tends to re-criminalized those entangled in the legal system. Dr. Randall Horton is currently the only tenured Full Professor in the United States of America at a university or college with seven felony convictions. He is a member of the experimental performance group Heroes Are Gang Leaders which recently received the 2018 American Book Award in Oral Literature and their latest musical project, The Baraka Sessions, was named best vocal jazz album by NPR in 20129. Randall’s latest collection of poetry {#289-128} was published by the University of Kentucky Press in Fall 2020. Dr. Horton is a Professor of English at the University of New Haven.
Dead Weight by Randall Horton will be for sale at the event and a book signing will follow.


April 8, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Magic City Books


Magic City Books
221 E. Archer St.
Tulsa, OK 74103 United States
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