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Brian F. Walker: "Black Boy White School"

I spent six years teaching at the Cambridge School of Weston, and I made many friends among my colleagues and students. One of those friends was Brian F. Walker, who was in the English department and also worked in admissions in the time I was there.

Brian F. Walker, Michael A. Burstein Brian F. Walker, Michael A. Burstein Photo copyright ©2012 J. Pickard. All rights reserved.

Brian and I bonded over the fact that we were both writers. While I was writing science-fiction short stories, Brian was working on a YA novel based partly on his own experiences growing up in East Cleveland and attending a private school in New England.

That novel, Black Boy White School, has finally been published by HarperTeen, and last night Brian had a signing at The Elephant Walk in Cambridge. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get to it, as it meant making sure that the girls went to bed early or on time. As it is, thanks to Nomi, I managed to make it out the door in time to get to the signing late. I missed Brian's reading, but I had a chance to see him, talk for a few minutes, and get my copy of his novel autographed.

Black Boy White School by Brian F. Walker Black Boy White School by Brian F. Walker

I'm only halfway through the book, but I'm enjoying it immensely. The novel is about Anthony "Ant" Jones, an African-American teenager from East Cleveland who earns a scholarship to Belton Academy, a prep school in Maine. It's fascinating to read about Ant's experiences in these two different worlds, both of which are very different from the world I experienced as a teenager. Ant is dealing with the usual issues of adolescence, of course, but layered on top of that are the problems specific to a black teenager from a rough neighborhood trying to make it in an elite white world. I can't wait to find out what happens to him.


Oh my! I remember him reading from drafts of it when he would be a "substitute dorm parent" in The Barn 1-2 nights a week (depending on the year... some years he split the obligation with another faculty member, because of his schedule, especially during basketball season). I'm glad to hear that it's been published, and now I totally need to pick up a copy.

He was an amazing influence to have around. I never had him for any classes, as he was mostly doing admissions while I was there, but always wished I had, and developed a great relationship with him even though (and maybe BECAUSE of... I wasn't always the most diligent student) I never had him as a teacher.

Thanks for sharing! :)

He's on Facebook if you want to find him, and he'll be doing another signing soon, I think in Weston.

December 2016

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