The Quarantine Tapes 149: Paul Coates

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Guest host Walter Mosley is joined by W. Paul Coates on episode 149 of The Quarantine Tapes. Paul is a publisher and the founder of Black Classic Press.

Walter opens the conversation with a question about what hope Paul is finding in this moment. This leads into a deep and generative discussion about the definition of hope. They discuss Paul’s history with the Black Panthers, Medgar Evers, and Walter’s writing in their attempts to parse the difference between each of their understandings of hope, struggle, and optimism.

W. Paul Coates is the founder of Black Classic Press and BCP Digital Printing. Black Classic Press, founded in 1978, specializes in republishing obscure and significant works by and about people of African descent. BCP Digital Printing was founded in 1996 as a parallel entity of the Press. The printing company uses state of the art digital technology to produce books and documents On Demand. The acquisition of digital printing technology distinguishes the press from other small publishing companies and places Black Classic Press on the cutting edge of 21st century technology.

As a former African American Studies reference and acquisition librarian at Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Mr.. Coates was responsible for collection development of African American books and related materials. His responsibilities included the selection and purchase of rare and non-rare items.

Mr. Coates is a graduate of Atlanta University's School of Library and Information Studies (1980) and SDC/Antioch University (1979). He is an active Black bibliophile and collector of cultural artifacts. Mr. Coates is co-editor of Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History (1990, Howard Univ. Press). He is a founding member and chair of the National Association of Black Book Publishers. In addition, he served as adjunct instructor of African American Studies at Sojourner-Douglass College, Baltimore, MD. He formerly owned and operated The Black Book (1972-1978), a Baltimore-based bookstore. His experience with the purchase, sale, and collection of books by and about Blacks is a love affair that has continued more than two and one half decades.

Walter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired writers in America. He is the author of more than 60 critically-acclaimed books including the just released Elements of Fiction, a nonfiction book about the art of writing fiction; the novel John Woman,Down the River and Unto the Sea (which won an Edgar Award for “Best Novel”) and the bestselling mystery series featuring “Easy Rawlins.” His work has been translated into 25 languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times and The Nation, among other publications. He is also a writer and an executive producer on the John Singleton FX show, “Snowfall.”

In 2013 he was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, and he is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, The Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award, a Grammy®, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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