Clint Smith, Emerson Fellow, is a staff writer at the Atlantic and the author of Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Smith has received fellowships from New America, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His writing has been published in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, the Paris Review, and elsewhere.
He currently teaches writing and literature at the D.C. Central Detention Facility. His debut nonfiction book How the Word Is Passed, which explores how different historical sites reckon with—or fail to reckon with—their relationship to the history of slavery, will be published by Little, Brown in 2021. He received his B.A. in English from Davidson College and his Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University.
- An Intimate History of America: An essay on how many histories we are told happened a long time ago, weren't that long ago at all. It ultimately served as a catalyst for Smith’s book project. (Paris Review, 2017)
- James Baldwin’s Lesson for Teachers in a Time of Turmoil: An essay on how rigorous lessons are not mutually exclusive from culturally and politically relevant ones. (New Yorker, 2017)
- How to Raise a Black Son in America: A TED Talk on childhood advice from Smith’s father and exploring the role race plays in growing up. (TED, 2015)