Imani Perry

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University where she also teaches in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Law and Public Affairs and Jazz Studies. She has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D in the history of American civilization from Harvard University.

Perry is the author of Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, winner of the Bograd-Weld Biography Prize of 2019 from the Pen America Foundation, Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction, Winner of the Shilts-Grahn Triangle Award for Lesbian Nonfiction. A New York Times Notable Book of 2018, winner of the African American Intellectual History Society’s Pauli Murray Award, and longlisted for the ALA Carnegie Award for Nonfiction. Looking for Lorraine has been optioned for film by Sight Unseen Pictures.  In 2018 Perry also published May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Nonfiction, and winner of the 2019 Hurston/Wright Award for Non-Fiction. 

Her latest book, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons (Beacon), Krista Tippet called, “a resplendent meditation on the labor and art of parenting and on the ‘special calling’ of mothering Black boys in America.” Her next book, A Mirrored Pool of Brilliance: The South in America is forthcoming from Ecco.

Perry has written two other books and numerous book reviews and opinion pieces for publications including: The New York Times Book Review, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, The London Review of Economics Book Review and The London Financial Times.  Perry, a native of Birmingham, Alabama who grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Chicago, lives outside of Philadelphia with her two sons. This spring of 2019 she is offering the bicentennial address for the state of Alabama at the Alabama Humanities and Book festival.