“1908-1960 American novelist. Born on a farm near Natchez, Mississippi, Wright, largely self-educated, began to write after he moved to Chicago in 1934. Often associated with Nelson Algren, James Farrell, and the Chicago realists, he wrote powerfully dramatic books exploring the ways in which blacks have been shaped and misshaped by white society. His first published work, Uncle Tom’s Children (1938), a collection of four novellas, was followed by Native Son (1940), which became a minor classic and was made into a film in 1951 and again in 1986. Wright was a member of the Communist Party from 1932 to 1944, lived in Mexico for much of the 1940s, and moved to Paris in 1946, where he remained until his death. His autobiography, Black Boy appeared in 1945. Other works include The Outsider (1953), a philosophical novel; White Man, Listen! (1957); The Long Dream (1958), a novel; and Eight Men (1961), a collection of stories published posthumously, which contains some of his finest writing.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.