James Baldwin’s 100th Birthday Is Celebrated By Penguin Classics And A Partnership With Hay Festival


To celebrate James Baldwin’s 100th birthday, Penguin Classics has unveiled a series of new releases and partnered with the Hay Festival.

The year-long tribute to Baldwin’s legacy began with the launch of Penguin Classics’ “On the Road” podcast episode, which is hosted by Henry Eliot and centers on Baldwin’s novel Giovanni’s Room.

The commemoration reaches its peak on August 1st with the release of Baldwin’s autobiographical masterpiece, No Name in the Street, under the Penguin Modern Classics imprint. This profound work offers insights into Baldwin’s life, spanning from his upbringing in Harlem to the pivotal moments surrounding the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

In addition, Baldwin’s acclaimed short story collection, Going to Meet the Man, will be reissued in August, alongside the UK debut of select novels and essay collections in audio format. A robust marketing campaign will accompany these releases, showcasing the depth and breadth of Baldwin’s literary contributions within Penguin Modern Classics.

Josephine Greywoode, publishing director at Penguin Press, expressed her enthusiasm by saying, “James Baldwin is one of the most important writers of the 20th century and his work resonates as profoundly today as when it was first published. It has been an enormous privilege and honour to witness the renewed interest in his work over the past 10 years. We are absolutely thrilled to celebrate the centenary of his birth—and to bring his timeless works to a new generation of readers.”

The Hay Festival will also honor Baldwin’s legacy with a series of global activities, beginning this month with a Book Club session centered on Giovanni’s Room, presented in collaboration with Words of Colour. The event, which is scheduled for Thursday, February 22nd, will feature broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied and novelist Colm Tóibín.

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