Brian Broome

Cindy Seip

Brian Broome is a poet and screenwriter. He’s been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and has won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards, as well as a 2019 VANN Award for journalism from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. In his debut Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir (Mariner Books), Broome writes about his early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys. His recounting of his experiences – in all their cringeworthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory – reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly trying to find his way in. Indiscriminate sex and drug use help soothe his hurt young psyche, usually to uproarious and devastating effect. Broome’s writing brims with swagger and sensitivity, while his voice in the retelling shows the true depth of vulnerability for young Black boys. Framed around Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool,” the iconic ode to Black boyhood, Punch Me Up to the Gods is at once playful, poignant, and wholly original. Augusten Burroughs, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors, praised the book as “some of the finest writing I have ever encountered and one of the most electrifying, powerful, simply spectacular memoirs I – or you – have ever read. … It contains everything we all crave so deeply: truth, soul, brilliance, grace.”