Nathan C. Heard

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Nathan C. Heard is considered one of the forefathers of "urban street literature" and "prison literature". Heard's first novel Howard Street, published in 1968, depicts the underbelly of inner-city life of Black America. Howard Street sold more than 1 million copies. Heard also wrote five other novels.

Nathan C. Heard started writing while serving a seven-year sentence for armed robbery at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. After his release, Heard taught black literature at the University of California - Fresno and creative writing at Rutgers. He appeared in several "Blaxploitation" films, including Gordon's War. During the 1970's, Heard wrote a column for the New York Times. Nathan Heard passed away in 2004 at the age of 67.

Originally published in 1968, this is the searingly powerful first novel written inside Trenton State Prison and based on the authentic first-hand Newark street experiences of one of the most accomplished African-American writers. Howard Street is a uniquely powerful combination of the hard-earned insight into the ghetto world of pimps, 'hos, junkies, dope dealers, winos, corrupt cops, and young hoodlums of such "black experience" legends as Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim, with the disciplined and inspired pulp prose of Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford or Chester Himes.

Where to find Nathan C. Heard online


Howard Street
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 90,020. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » Urban life, Fiction » Historical » USA
A major literary rediscovery, this is a searing first novel written inside Trenton State Prison in 1968. Howard Street sold over a million copies. One of the first literary depictions of black ghetto life, this hard boiled novel evokes a lost time in African-American culture. Based on first-hand Newark street experiences with unique insight into the psychology, motivations and lingo of the ghetto.

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