About Citizen Kang

About Citizen Kang

Political fact marries political fiction in Citizen Kang, an online serialized novel that unfolds in weekly installments on The Nation.com throughout Campaign 08.


Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, I’ve been an activist and organizer on issues ranging from police abuse, the anti-Apartheid Movement, organized labor and pre and post ’92 civil unrest race relations. Being a recreational reader as a teenager — due in no small part to my mom being a librarian — made me want to tell the stories that, particularly in those days, weren’t being told in a lot of the books and comics I was reading. That eventually led to me to publish several crime and mystery novels, some dealing with race, class and social conditions.

Now with Citizen Kang I’m doing a serialized, online political novella that will unfold in real time parallel to our quixotic political arena including reverberations from the ongoing presidential campaigns. The serial is an old model as writers such as Charles Dickens and Mark Twain wrote in the installment form in newspapers and magazines.  Now in the time of blogs and Kindle, Stephen King, and a whole bunch of writers not as well known, produce online versions of their work as well.

So CK builds on what’s gone before, while capitalizing on the topicality and interactivity of the Web. Reader involvement is tough on a writer of fiction accustomed to acting on his own ideas and attitudes about where the story is going. But during a crucial election season in which our basic values as a society will be tested and tempered, there’s a whole lot of stuff going on to keep track of regularly. So as Congresswoman Cynthia Kang deals with her personal and political fortunes, while murder and chicanery abound, I welcome your suggestions about what real-world events might be woven into each chapter as the twists and turns of Citizen Kang plays out.

Let’s see where the story takes us.

Gary Phillips

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