D. Watkins is a columnist for Salon. His work has been published in the New York Times, Guardian, Rolling Stone, and other publications. He is a college professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. Watkins has been the recipient of numerous awards including Ford’s Men of Courage and a BME Fellowship. Watkins is from and lives in East Baltimore. He is the author of The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America. His most recent book, The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir (Grand Central Publishing) is a riveting look inside the Baltimore drug trade, and an incredible story of redemption. The smartest kid on his block in East Baltimore, D. was certain he would escape the life of drugs, decadence, and violence that had surrounded him since birth. But when his brother Devin is shot-only days after D. receives notice that he’s been accepted into Georgetown University, he takes up the mantel of his brother’s crack empire. Equally terrifying and hilarious, inspiring and heartbreaking, D.’s story offers a rare glimpse into the mentality of a person who has escaped many hells.