A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Jerald Walker has published in magazines such as Creative Nonfiction, The Missouri Review, The Harvard Review, Mother Jones, The Iowa Review, and The Oxford American, and he has been widely anthologized, including five times in The Best American Essays. Walker is the author of Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption, recipient of the 2011 PEN New England/L.L. Winship Award for Nonfiction and named a Best Memoir of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, and The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult. His latest book, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays was a Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award in Nonfiction, and winner of the 2020 Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction. He has received fellowships from the James Michener Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Walker's doctorate is in Interdisciplinary Studies, combining the fields of African American literature, African American history, and creative writing. Prior to arriving at Emerson, he was an Associate Professor of English at Bridgewater State University.
He also has been a Visiting Professor in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT and in the MFA in Nonfiction Program at the University of Iowa. His teaching honors include the Favorite Faculty Award and the Martha D. Jones Award for Most Outstanding Dedication to Students.