Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

A Lucky Man

Jamel Brinkley
In the nine expansive, searching stories of A Lucky Man, fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront mistakes made in the past. An imaginative young boy from the Bronx goes swimming with his group from day camp at a backyard pool in the suburbs, and faces the effects of power and privilege in ways he can barely grasp. A teen intent on proving himself a man through the all-night revel of J’ouvert can’t help but look out for his impressionable younger brother. A pair of college boys on the prowl follow two girls home from a party and have to own the uncomfortable truth of their desires. And at a capoeira conference, two brothers grapple with how to tell the story of their family, caught in the dance of their painful, fractured history.

Jamel Brinkley’s stories, in a debut that announces the arrival of a significant new voice, reflect the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class—where luck may be the greatest fiction of all.

Share Title

Publication Date
Trim Size
6 x 9
“This is the rare debut that introduces not a promising talent but a major writer, fully formed”—Garth Greenwell

About the Author

Jamel  Brinkley
Credit: Arash Saedinia
Jamel Brinkley is a graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has received fellowships from Kimbilio Fiction, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Stanford University. A Lucky Man is his first book. He lives in California.
More by author

Upcoming Events

Graywolf Literary Salon: Voices for Our Time

Aria in Minneapolis, MNview map

Join us for the Third Annual Graywolf Literary Salon

The 2018 Graywolf Literary Salon: Voices for Our Time will feature Jamel Brinkley (A Lucky Man), Tarfia Faizullah (Registers of Illuminated Villages), and Wayétu Moore (She Would Be King) in conversation with Graywolf Director and Publisher Fiona McCrae and Executive Editor Jeff Shotts. Music will be provided by the Davu Seru Trio.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

105 North First Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401

All proceeds support Graywolf Press, a nonprofit publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of twenty-first century American and international literature. Reserve your place today!

  • Bookmark Ticket $35
    • ​Doors open at 7:00pm
    • Includes valet parking, one free drink, and admission to the program
  • Publisher Ticket $160
    • Reception starts at 6:00pm
    • Includes VIP reception with free drinks and delicious appetizers, valet parking, signed books by the featured authors, and admission to the program

Jamel Brinkley reading at Prairie Lights

Prairie Lights in Iowa City, IAview map
In conversation with Charles D'Ambrosio.

Jamel Brinkley reading at Harvard Book Store

Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, MAview map
In conversation with Margot Livesey.

Jamel Brinkley reading at UC Davis

UC Davis in Davis, CAview map
Location: Peter J. Shields Library.


  • “[A Lucky Man] may include only nine stories, but in each of them, Brinkley gives us an entire world.”—
  • “The stories hit with a silent thunder that reverberates within you long after you’ve finished them.”San Francisco Chronicle
  • “Brinkley’s collection A Lucky Man, already creating waves within the literary sphere, manages to be simultaneously polemical and immersive, in a series of tenderly insightful studies of masculinity, race, and the scars of history.”Entertainment Weekly
  • “Through pages of peerless prose and startlingly sharp sentences, what ultimately emerges is a constantly reframed argument about the role and power of masculinity, where vulnerability pulses beneath a skin of self preservation.”Los Angeles Times
Back to Table of Contents