Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Randall Kenan

A much-honored writer of fiction and non-fiction, Randall Kenan was born in New York City and raised in rural North Carolina. He released his first novel, A Visitation of Spirits, in 1989, and a collection of short stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, in 1992. The collection was named a New York Times Notable Book of the year. Much of his work is set in the fictional town of Tim’s Creek, where he created a world through which he explores themes of racism, homophobia, religious belief, and the kind of fear-based hatred that he witnessed growing up. Kenan’s books include a biography of James Baldwin (1993), one of his literary idols, and a work of non-fiction, The Fire This Time (2007), that plays off the title of one of Baldwin’s most famous books. Kenan’s many honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and a John Dos Passos Award. He has taught literature and creative writing at several universities, including as an Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.