Remembering Nat Hentoff

Wendy asked me the other day if I had heard that the author Nat Hentoff died.  I didn’t realize at first that this was the same person I heard memorialized on the radio as “an outspoken advocate of free speech and a prolific jazz writer.” The old, recorded interview didn’t even mention his success as a young adult author among his other accomplishments.

Back in 1984, children at Fountaindale had an opportunity to vote for their favorite author during the Summer Reading Program. Authors were invited to write to the children and make their case for the children’s votes.  Here is Nat Hentoff’s response, on his Village Voice notepaper:



It reads, “I am honored to have been selected as one of Fountaindale Corners’ favorite authors. Here is my campaign speech: I write, first of all, to widen my own imagination because the act of fiction is the act of constant surprise. Then, I try to surprise my readers into breaking out of their familiar responses to themselves by feeling what it is to be inside other people’s heads + vulnerabilities + strengths. I write to spread the sense of wonder at how various we all are.”

If you search his name in our catalog, some of his young adult fiction is available from another Pinnacle library. You will also see notes on many jazz albums and opinion pieces on issues important to him.

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