No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Jason Reynolds to give Wooster’s Mortensen Lecture Sept. 22

Photo of Jason Reynolds by James J. Reddington

Jason Reynolds, No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of books for young people, and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (2020-2022), will give The College of Wooster’s Peter Mortensen Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. The lecture is slated to take place at McGaw Chapel (303 East University Street) and is free and open to the public.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Reynolds and co-author Ibram X Kendi was selected as Wooster’s Summer Reading book for first-year students in the Class of 2026. The book is a ‘remix’ of Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which follows five historical figures and the way they dismantled or aggravated racist ideas in America.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is the product of the collaboration between Reynolds and Kendi, exploring both the racist ideas so deeply ingrained in American history, and the hope of an anti-racist future. The text is historical and topical, with content and language designed for teens and young adults.

Says Reynolds, “The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. Racist ideas are woven into the fabric of this country, and the first step to building an antiracist America is acknowledging America’s racist past and present. This book takes you on that journey, showing how racist ideas started and were spread, and how they can be discredited.”

Born in Washington, D.C., Reynolds started writing poetry when he was nine years old. He published his first novel, When I Was The Greatest, in 2014, which won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent that same year. Over the next four years, Reynolds wrote eight more novels, returning to poetry in 2017 with Long Way Down, a novel in verse that was named a Newbery Honor book, a Printz Honor Book, and best young adult work by the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Awards. In 2019, he wrote Look Both Ways, for which he won a Carnegie Medal. Reynolds is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books for young people, and the current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. As National Ambassador, Reynolds teaches young writers how to start writing authentically: “The greatest gift [young writers] have is the voice that feels most natural,” he said.

The Peter Mortensen Endowed Lecture Fund was established in 2006 with a gift from Peter Mortensen, class of 1956, with gratitude for the contribution of The College of Wooster to the success and happiness of four generations of the Mortensen family. Income from the fund is used to support one or more public lectures and/or performances related to the First-Year Seminar, or for similar purposes directly related to the academic programs.

Image: Photo of Jason Reynolds by James J. Reddington

Posted in News on September 12, 2022.