"I often think about cultural work before Hari Zyad and after Hari Zyad. I don't know that there is another writer and cultural worker who has done more to make us intellectually, imaginatively and bodily engage with the ways that traditional conceptions of gender, sexuality, blackness, class, childhood, empire and power necessarily mangle our relationships to each other. Hari's work goes far beyond the bombastic pull quotes or titillating essay titles. In their hands, we see the essay form being cared for, carved up and absolutely dismantled. More than anything, Hari's art insists that we ask not simply the hard questions, but the unintelligible questions we've convinced ourselves have no answers. In their work, I understand that pointed questions rooted in a love of black queer folk must be part of our liberation. They have changed the way people write, think, and love one another on and off the internet."
— Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy, An American Memoir, Long Division, and How To Slowly Kill Yourself And Others In America
"From James Baldwin and Audre Lorde to Darnell Moore and Danez Smith, Hari Ziyad's work fits in as an exciting new entry in the cannon of queer Black American literature. In my decade of mentoring younger writers, Ziyad's writing stands out as a singularly original voice. Ziyad, whose work is taken seriously in publishing and academia despite their young age, tackles race and gender in ways writers of all races seem to find too hot to touch. Yet as challenging as Ziyad's ideas are, they are not inaccessible; indeed, when published in the Guardian, Ziyad's stories were among the most read globally on the site.
Curiously, though Ziyad seems to write explicitly as a Black writer with Black readers in mind (and Black children at the heart of his work), white people are always asking me about Ziyad's provocative stories. Ziyad's work stirs impassioned debates and strong reactions both from people I know who have been following it for years and by those who are encountering it for the first time. Also, editors I know throughout the journalism publishing industry have enjoyed working with Ziyad not just because of their work (particularly on gender) is so original and well-read, but because Hari is a pleasure to work with as a writer. Because they are so dedicated to craft, I cannot wait to read how Hari Ziyad applies their considerable writing skills across the length of an entire book in Black Boy Out of Time: A Never Coming of Age Story."
— Steven W. Thrasher, Writer-At-Large, The Guardian
Henry M. MacCracken Doctoral Candidate in American Studies, New York University
"Hari Ziyad is a new and important voice narrating for readers both the trauma experienced by black people as part of afterlife of slavery and the possibilities of liberation. In his proposed book, Ziyad promises to pull back the curtain and interrogate how anti-black racism manifests not only in the structures black people encounter, but also in our interactions between each other. However, beyond providing texture to the hurt that, too often, animates blackness, Ziyad’s book will detail for the reader the possibilities and directions of black freedom and healing today. Centering his analysis around black children, Ziyad will explore how we protect black children from a perpetual cycle of trauma. Ziyad’s book will add nuance and depth to current renderings of what it is to be black and queer and what type of personal/political liberation is possible."
— Cathy J. Cohen, author of Boundaries of Blackness: Democracy Remixed
"Hari Ziyad's genre is either the essay nor the short story, not television criticism or the more behind the scenes work of editing. His work is the networking of all his interests in the so-called marginalized into a single force that illuminates just how central underestimated and abused communities truly are. If the margins are said to be the dwelling place of Ziyad's subjectivity, then he sees his job as showing how the ones in the margins are also the ones involuntarily keeping the world afloat. Through his eyes, the abused, the overlooked, the disfigured, the queer, and the riotous are given life, a stage, a platform, an embrace from his vision."
— Phillip B. Williams, author of Thief In The Interior
2017 Kate Tufts Award, 2017 Whiting Award, and 2017 Lambda Literary Award
Editor, Vinyl Poetry and Prose
"Hari Ziyad's incisive writing is a rare mix of balladry, criticism, and reportage. They write of the times with clarity and courage. They appeal to truth and beauty. And in so doing offer us Black loving art that is both shot gun and balm."