Pulitzer-winning Arbery author visits MTSU Oct. 6 ...

Pulitzer-winning Arbery author visits MTSU Oct. 6 to discuss life ‘revision’

promo for Mitchell Jackson MTSU Pulitzer Prize Series lecture with photo and text reading “Mitchell Jackson, author and 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner” and a box with “Wednesday, October 6, 2021, James Union Building, at 10:20 a.m.”

The winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for his story on the 2020 slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, by three white men will speak at Middle Tennessee State University during a free public event set Wednesday, Oct. 6.

Mitchell Jackson MTSU Pulitzer Prize Series lecture poster

Click on the poster to see a larger version.

Author and novelist Mitchell Jackson will discuss “Revision: Finding Restoration and Empowerment with Creativity” in the Tennessee Room in MTSU’s James Union Building at 10:20 a.m. Central Oct. 6 as part of the university’s Pulitzer Prize Series.

The series is sponsored by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, the College of Media and Entertainment and the Free Speech Center at MTSU.

The James Union Building is located at 516 Alma Mater Drive. Guests must follow MTSU’s mask and other health safety requirements inside the building.

Jackson’s talk will be followed by a reception with refreshments and book signing for his autobiographical novel “The Residue Years” and his autobiography, “Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family.” Copies of both will be available for sale.

A campus parking map is available here. Because of limited parking near the venue, off-campus visitors should get a one-day permit at, park in the university’s Rutherford Boulevard Lot, and ride the Raider Xpress shuttle to the James Union Building.

Jackson’s “12 Minutes and a Life” in Runner’s World magazine focuses on Arbery’s life and February 2020 death. The Georgia native was chased down and shot by three men who claimed he was breaking into homes under construction.

Mitchell Jackson, 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner for feature writing

Mitchell Jackson

The article, which incorporates Jackson’s first-person narrative as another Black man who enjoys recreational running, earned praise from the Pulitzer judges as a “deeply affecting account … that combined vivid writing, thorough reporting and personal experience to shed light on systemic racism in America.”

Jackson’s story, which also won the 2021 National Magazine Award, is available to read here.

His novel “The Residue Years” relates how a young man grew up in a neglected, crack-ravaged neighborhood in Portland in the 1990s. The book won a Whiting Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence.

His “Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family” chronicles his family life. Jackson served prison time for a drug conviction and later earned master’s degrees in writing from Portland State University and New York University.

Previous speakers in MTSU’s Pulitzer series include a team from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, which won a 2019 Pulitzer for its coverage of the Parkland school shootings; journalists from The Arizona Republic, which earned a 2018 Pulitzer for its multifaceted news package on the U.S.-Mexico border wall; and Eric Eyre of the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail, who won his 2017 award for investigative reporting on the opioid crisis.

Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence logoMTSU’s Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies honors the late John Seigenthaler, longtime editor and publisher of The Tennessean and founder of the First Amendment Center, and his lifelong commitment to free expression.

Currently led by veteran journalist Deborah Fisher, it sponsors activities at MTSU that include visits from distinguished professors and lecturers, research, seminars, and hands-on training for student journalists.

More information about the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies is available by contacting Fisher at or visiting

Details on the work of the Free Speech Center at MTSU, including its First Amendment Encyclopedia, are available at The College of Media and Entertainment’s website is

— Gina E. Fann (