Benjamin Hedin's fiction, essays, and interviews have been published by The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, The Nation, The Oxford American, The Chicago Tribune, Poets and Writers, Salmagundi, and The Georgia Review. He is the editor of Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader, widely regarded as one of the finest collections of music writing, and the producer and author of a forthcoming documentary, Two Trains Runnin'. His nonfiction chronicle, In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now, was published in March of 2015 by City Lights Books.
Hedin was born in Paris, France, and raised in North Carolina and Minnesota. He studied music at the College of William and Mary and in the fall of 2002 entered the Graduate Writing Program at The New School in New York City. After earning his M.F.A. in fiction from The New School he started teaching, first at Long Island University and The New School, and later in the Expository Writing Program at New York University. He is the son of Robert Hedin, the award-winning poet and translator.
In 1963, John Perdew was arrested in Georgia for demonstrating against segregation and was convicted of sedition, a capital crime. Fifty years ago Perdew and others of his generation worked to overthrow Jim Crow and open the polling booths for all Americans. Recently, the front page of the New York Times ran these headlines: "Desegregation Deal Completed," "Federal Scrutiny of Voting." In the last fifty years, has America progressed on matters of race, or are we stalled—or even moving backward?
"Benjamin Hedin went looking for the civil rights movement's past, but he also ran smack into the present, which can suddenly look like the past and then just as suddenly look totally different. By bringing stirring people like Septima Clark into focus, Hedin does what good historians do, but by entwining history with current events, he does a lot more. Here is a haunting meditation on living in history as well as with it."
— Sean Wilentz
praise for Benjamin Hedin
praise for Benjamin Hedin
"Fusing the personal with the political, the present with the past, Benjamin Hedin has written a sober, touching elegy for our shared history. In Search of the Movement is needed and essential, and it could not have come at a better time."
— Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, author, Brief Encounters With the Enemy and When Skateboards Will Be Free
"A deeply intelligent writer and reporter, Benjamin Hedin repositions the civil rights movement as an ongoing crusade, a moral and political struggle that was seeded in the 1950s and 60s, but continues to develop in complicated, hopeful, and heartbreaking ways. In Search of the Movement is a bold and exploratory book, as much about Hedin’s journey – to reconcile an American past with the American present – as anything else. It reads like both a salve and guide for these heady times; I couldn’t put it down."
— Amanda Petrusich, author, Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78 rpm Records