Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Johanna Lawshea

Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He is the author of the novels Freeman, and Before I Forget; the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities; and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood. Pitts’s new novel, Grant Park (Agate Bolden; $24.95), begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King’s final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint hacks into his newspaper’s server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column’s publication. While a furious Carson tries to find him, Toussaint is abducted by two white supremacists plotting to explode a bomb at Barack Obama’s planned rally in Chicago’s Grant Park. Toussaint and Carson are forced to remember the choices they made as young men, when both their lives were changed profoundly by their work in the civil rights movement.