The Dead Don't Need Reminding: In Search of Fugitives, Mississippi, and Black TV Nerd Shit

Julian Randall

Book cover for The Dead Don't Need Reminding: In Search of Fugitives, Mississippi, and Black TV Nerd Shit
Book cover for The Dead Don't Need Reminding: In Search of Fugitives, Mississippi, and Black TV Nerd Shit

The Dead Don't Need Reminding: In Search of Fugitives, Mississippi, and Black TV Nerd Shit

The Dead Don't Need Reminding: In Search of Fugitives, Mississippi, and Black TV Nerd Shit

Julian Randall

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This brilliant, adult nonfiction debut from the acclaimed MG author and poet weaves two personal narratives of recovery and reclamation, spliced with a dazzle of pop-culture

The Dead Don't Need Reminding is a braided story of Julian Randall's return from the cliff edge of a harrowing depression and his determination to retrace the hustle of a white-passing grandfather to the Mississippi town from which he was driven amid threats of tar and feather.

Alternatively wry, lyrical, and heartfelt, Randall transforms pop culture moments into deeply personal explorations of grief, family, and the American way. He envisions his fight to stay alive through a striking medley of media ranging from Into the Spiderverse and Jordan Peele movies to BoJack Horseman and the music of Odd Future. Pulsing with life, sharp, and wickedly funny, The Dead Don't Need Reminding is Randall's journey to get his ghost story back.

About the Author

Julian Randall is a contributor to the #1 New York Times bestseller Black Boy Joy and his middle-grade novel, Pilar Ramirez and the Escape From Zafa, was published by Holt in 2022. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Tin House, and Milkweed Editions. He is the winner of the 2019 Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award from the Publishing Triangle, the 2019 Frederick Bock Prize, and a Pushcart prize. His poetry has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, and POETRY. His first book, Refuse, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He lives in Chicago.

Critical Reviews

"Incisive, enthralling, and full of heart, this book doesn't just set itself apart in the genre of blended personal/pop culture writing; it deserves to be seen as a reinvention of it."
--Nicole Chung for Esquire

"[A]n inventive, poetic, vulnerable, and sincere narrative."

"The Dead Don't Need Reminding is the--and I mean thee--freshest example of why them folks didn't want us reading, writing, queering, and questioning. I don't need a decade to know Randall has made a forever classic. And we, the Dead, so needed it."--Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

"As Randall wrestles with the battles of past ghosts and sometimes difficult family histories, we witness an indefatigable mind tackle pop culture with a feverish delight and a wry charm. What emerges is an impressive body of essays-- chock full of humor and grit, clear-eyed, and utterly absorbing."
--Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders

"The Dead Don't Need Reminding is a generous journey through Julian Randall's expansive mind, weaving together tightly knit threads of place, popular culture, and identity that all strike equally vibrant notes. Not only stunningly written, this book is also, plainly, an absolute pleasure to read."--Hanif Abdurraqib, author of There's Always This Year and A Little Devil in America

"In The Dead Don't Need Reminding, Julian Randall deftly weaves pop culture references with deeply internal examinations of self, queerness and lineage in an attempt to better understand the racist event that drove his family out of the south generations prior. It's a book for Black folks, for Black queer folks, that allows equal space for our grief and our joy--for our niche interests, our obsessions, and our celebrations--which is as beautiful as it is devastating."--Electric Literature

"[A] unique approach to exploring mental health and racial identity in the United States, all through the wry and witty storytelling style of MG author Julian Randall."

"Julian Randall's The Dead Don't Need Reminding is a dazzling ghost story that braids inti­mate narratives with cultural commentary to explore the author's own past, present and future... This is a story not just about a Black man surviving a visit to the Deep South, but about him staying alive long enough to learn where he came from. Our narrator invites us to witness his vulnerability and imagination, shepherding us through time and place from Chicago to the South and back again as he shares his research into his lineage and the depths of his depression. Through smart cultural critique to rich poetic imagery, Randall's writing moves at a quick pace that reflects his city roots; but when he slows down to describe the lands and people that haunt him, we witness a gifted Southern storyteller."
--BookPage, *starred*

"Weaving pop culture touchstones into a deeply personal account of mental illness, grief and family, this resonant memoir is deeply of-the-moment."--People Magazine

Publishing Information

Publisher: Bold Type Books
Pub date: 2024-05-07
Length: 256 pages
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