Ishmael Reed is an American writer of poetry, essays, novels, songs and plays. Reed grew up in Buffalo, NY, and later attended the University of Buffalo before moving to New York City in 1962. In 1965, Reed founded the underground newspaper the East Village Other, which featured Dadaist images and non-sequitur headlines and featured counter-cultural news coverage bi-weekly, as well as the American Festival of Negro Art. While in New York during the 1960s, Reed was a member of the Umbra Writers Workshop. Reed published his first novel, The Free-Lance Pallbearers, in 1967. Since then, Reed has published nine more novels, most famously Mumbo Jumbo (1972). Reed’s novels are known for their surrealism, satire, and political and racial commentary. He introduces elements of magic and prophecy intertwined with historical narratives. From 1970-2005, Reed taught at the University of California, Berkeley. He now serves as a Distinguished Professor at California College of the Arts. Reed’s Personal Problems, a meta-soap opera that shows how Black life looks away from the intervention of mediators at the Hollywood studios, has screened at The Kitchen three times, one in 1982, and twice in 1984. For more information, visit