Writing Beyond a Limited Narrative: A Conversation with Hari Ziyad


Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Hari Ziyad’s journey through higher education.
  • Why they became editor of RaceBaitr after finishing film school at NYU.
  • The necessary disruption of social norms.
  • The challenges of writing memoir.
  • And a discussion of the book Black Boy Out of Time.

Our guest is: Hari Ziyad (he/they), a screenwriter, and the Editor-in-Chief of RaceBaitr. Originally from Cleveland, OH, they currently reside in Brooklyn, NY, and received their BFA from New York University, where they concentrated in Film and Television and Psychology. They are a 2021 Lambda Literary Fellow, and their writing has been featured in the peer-reviewed academic journal Critical Ethnic Studies, among other publications. They are also currently a writer at CBS, and were previously a script consultant on the drama series David Makes Man (OWN), as well as Managing Editor of Black Youth Project, and an Assistant Editor of Vinyl Poetry & Prose. They are the author of Black Boy Out of Time (Little A, 2021)

Today’s book is: Black Boy Out of Time, which explores childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations. Memoirist Hari Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenges the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them. Heartwarming and heart-wrenching, radical and reflective, Hari Ziyad’s vital memoir is for the outcast, the unheard, the unborn, and the dead. It offers us a new way to think about survival and the necessary disruption of social norms. It looks back in tenderness as well as justified rage, forces us to address where we are now, and, born out of hope, illuminates the possibilities for the future.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, the co-creator of the Academic Life.

Listeners to this episode might also be interested in:

You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island and neither are we. We reach across our mentor network to bring you experts about everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Here on the Academic Life channel, we embrace a broad definition of what it means to be an academic and to lead an academic life. We view education as a transformative human endeavor and are inspired by today’s knowledge-producers working inside and outside the academy. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DMs us on Twitter: @AcademicLifeNBN.

Your Host

Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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