La Maison Baldwin chats with James Baldwin Review

February 19, 2020

James Baldwin Review is a key sponsor of the 2020 Conference on James Baldwin. This is the first in a series of dialogues with people and insitutions instrumental in this gathering. 


JBR is an annual journal that brings together a wide array of peer‐reviewed critical essays and creative non-fiction on the life, writings, and legacy of James Baldwin. In addition to these cutting-edge contributions, each issue contains a review of recent Baldwin scholarship and an award-winning graduate student essay. James Baldwin Review publishes essays that invigorate scholarship on James Baldwin; catalyze explorations of the literary, political, and cultural influence of Baldwin’s writing and political activism; and deepen our understanding and appreciation of this complex and luminary figure.



Shannon Cain, La Maison Baldwin: James Baldwin Review was a very early supporter of our idea to  hold a Baldwin conference in St Paul in 2020. Your endorsement and financial commitment is really what has made this gathering possible. What led JBR to throw its support behind a conference in St Paul de Vence? 


Justin A. Joyce, James Baldwin Review: We are eager to support the gathering in St. Paul de Vence for three reasons. First, a Baldwin conference has been overdue for a few years now. The last gathering of Baldwin scholars was held in Paris in 2016; there was some conversation about a gathering in Istanbul in 2018, but that conference never materialized. Many of the scholars working on Baldwin based in the United States often find that despite the surge in public interest in Baldwin’s life and works, the conventional conferences here provide scant coverage of Baldwin scholarship. As but one example, the Modern Language Association conference in Seattle in 2020 only had one panel on Baldwin. A gathering dedicated solely to James Baldwin, therefore, represents a unique opportunity for this community of scholars and artists to come together and present their work and ideas.


Secondly, St. Paul de Vence was a special place for Baldwin’s own life. A conference held in the town of his last home is therefore a unique place for people to come together. Third, James Baldwin Review is dedicated to being an interdisciplinary, international forum for studying Baldwin and a conference in France is an ideal spot for many European scholars that might not be able to make the trip to the United States. While these three reasons primarily drove our decision, it must also be said that a gathering in the south of France in June holds a distinctive charm that was hard to resist.