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Ellison, Ralph

(US, 1914–94)

Born in Oklahoma, Ellison travelled north to New York in 1936. Inspired by the communist writer Richard Wright and his contact with the black community of Harlem, Ellison set about writing his only novel. Invisible Man (1952) is about a nameless black character moved to political activism by the racism he encounters. Ellison draws upon radical African-American thought, existentialism, surrealism, and folklore to create a disturbing and often prophetic account of the black struggle for political and social equality. In 1953 Ellison became the first Afro-American to win the prestigious National Book Award. Ellison also wrote short stories, reviews, and criticism, published in anthologies and magazines. Some of his more inspiring essays on jazz, blues, and literature are collected in Shadow and Act (1967).

Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright.


Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Co-Fi)