Charles Richard Johnson (born April 23, 1948) is an African-American scholar and the author of novels, short stories, screen-and-teleplays, and essays, most often with a philosophical orientation. Johnson has directly addressed the issues of black life in America in novels such as Dreamer and Middle Passage.
Middle Passage won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1990
making him the second African-American man to receive this prize after Ralph Ellison in 1953. Johnson's acceptance speech was a tribute to Ellison. Johnson received a MacArthur Fellowship or "Genius Grant" in 1998. He is also the recipient of National Endowment For The Arts and Guggenheim Fellowships, and many other prizes such as a 2002 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his most recent award is The Humanities Washington Award 2013 for creating and contributing for 15 years a new, original short story to a literary event called "Bedtime Stories," which since 1998 has raised a million dollars for the literacy programs of the non-profit organization Humanities Washington.
The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English says that his works "combine historical accuracy, parable, and elements of the fantastic in rendering the experience of African Americans."