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Bucknell Forum to Present 'New York Times' Bestselling Author George M. Johnson

February 14, 2024

by Mike Ferlazzo

Award-winning writer, author and executive producer George M. Johnson. Courtesy of Vincent Marc

George M. Johnson, an award-winning writer, author and executive producer, will be the next speaker in the Bucknell Forum 2023-24 series, presenting on the theme "Freedom of Expression" Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Leanne Freas Trout Auditorium (Room 100), Vaughan Literature Building. They will then engage in a limited Q&A session, where they will answer questions from Bucknell students.

Johnson is the fourth of five nationally renowned speakers participating in this year's Bucknell Forum — a speaker series that since 2007 has featured national leaders, scholars and commentators who have examined various issues from multidisciplinary and diverse viewpoints.

About George M. Johnson
Johnson is the author of the New York Times bestselling young-adult memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue, in which they discuss adolescence and growing up as a young Black queer boy in New Jersey through a series of powerful essays. The book was also named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, and the New York and Chicago public libraries.

After receiving those honors, the book became the target of book banning. In fact, it was the second most banned book of the 2021-22 school year. Johnson is now one of the author plaintiffs in PEN America, et al. v. Escambia County School District, a federal lawsuit that charges the district violated constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection under the law. They are joined as plaintiffs by parents in the district and the publisher Penguin Random House. In January, U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell II ruled that the lawsuit challenging these book bans could move forward.

As a journalist, Johnson wrote for major outlets, including Teen Vogue, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, and Buzzfeed. In 2019, Johnson was awarded the Salute to Excellence Award by the National Association of Black Journalists for their article "When Racism Anchors Your Health" in Vice Magazine.

Johnson was listed as one of The Root's 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2020, Out's 100 Most Influential LGBTQ People in 2021, and in 2022, was honored as part of the TIME100 Next, TIME Magazine's annual list of rising stars, rising leaders and up-and-comers.

Johnson's second memoir, We Are Not Broken, released in September 2021, received the Carter G. Woodson Award, which recognizes books that "accurately and sensitively depict the experience of one or more historically marginalized racial/ethnic groups in the United States." The book also received the Young Adult Nonfiction Honor from the International Literacy Association.

In 2021 Johnson wrote and executive produced the dramatic reading of All Boys Aren't Blue starring Jenifer Lewis and Dyllón Burnside, which received a 2022 Special Recognition Award from GLAAD, the world's largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization.

Johnson is a proud graduate of two historically Black institutions. They earned a bachelor's degree from Virginia Union University and a master's degree from Bowie State University. They are also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Event Information
All Bucknell Forum events are free and open to the public. Tickets are not required for this event.

An ASL interpreter will be signing at the event for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Attendees who need this service should contact for seating arrangements.

Questions regarding this event may be directed to the Division of Communications at 570-577-3260 or

Remaining Bucknell Forum Speaker
Academy Award-winning actor and activist Jane Fonda will be the final speaker in this year's Bucknell Forum on Tuesday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts.