Determined To Be Heard
Shadrach Linscomb was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He spent his younger years in the Bayview-Hunters Point area, and continued to spend his weekends at his grandparents’home there even after his family moved to the Ingleside District.
As an adult, Shadrach has lived all over the San Francisco Bay Area, including the cities of San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos, Hayward, Oakland, and San Leandro, and thus has experienced the richness and diversity of multiple cultures—a personal journey that has taught him to respect and be open to others.
Here are some of the highlights of Shadrach’s colorful life:
• In 1980, when he was in elementary school, Shadrach was diagnosed as severely speech impaired, which led many professionals to conclude that his chances of educational success were slim to none. Instead of buying into this dismal prognosis, Shadrach began to write short stories and poems, and dreamed about becoming a famous author.
• In 1989, Shadrach graduated from Balboa High School.
• Shadrach’s older siblings left home while he was still young, and then his mother left, too. What was worse, Shadrach’s relationship with his father was beyond adversarial. Pulled in opposite directions by strong forces on the streets and loud calls from the church, the adolescent Shadrach got caught up in street life for a time, struggling to survive.
• Nevertheless, Shadrach found time to read the works of Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Ernest Gaines, and others, and aspired to join their ranks one day. Meanwhile, many of the elders in the community, recognizing his potential, urged Shadrach to become a true leader in his community.
• Without funds and basically homeless, Shadrach decided to leave the fast life behind and enroll in City College of San Francisco, where he somehow found a way to attend classes.
• Shadrach received a big break in 1993, when a working-class family in Belmont heard about him and took him in. Soon afterward, he was accepted into the School of Social Work at San Francisco State University. By 1997, he had earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Social Work.
• Also in 1997, Shadrach got a job as a counselor at a non-profit organization based at a middle school in San Francisco, where he worked with “at risk” students. One of his most successful interventions was to write short plays for those students to perform in front of the whole student body, as well as the parents--something these kids had never been allowed or encouraged to do before.
• In the fall of 1997, Shadrach launched his own publishing company, VIEW HOUSE PUBLISHING, based in downtown Oakland. A few months later, he published his first novel, One Day in the Life of Zechariah, a story about an interracial relationship that deeply probes the protagonist’s inner self and personal struggles.
• Shadrach published his second novel in 2001, Brother Status, a story about a streetwise teen and all of the colorful characters in his dangerous neighborhood. In 2007, this book was selected by the Oakland Public School District as one of its recommended readers.
• Shadrach published his third novel in 2005, Sex, Guns, and a Barber (A Shelton Parker Mystery), which opened doors for him as a publisher when he became an award-winning finalist in the African American fiction category of the National Best Books 2006, sponsored by USA Book News. This book also received Honorable Mention for the Hollywood Book Festival Award. Furthermore, the San Francisco Public Library purchased and placed copies of the book throughout its branches. Sex, Guns, and a Barber is now marketed by Baker & Taylor, one of the nation’s largest book distributors.
• On December 20, 2006, the Oakland Post interviewed Shadrach about his publishing company, with sales reaching throughout the United States and even to Great Britain. Shadrach can be seen signing one of his books at any number of different cultural events in the Bay area.
• In 2008, Shadrach published his fourth novel, Player Related, which follows the romantic exploits of an African American male who spent his childhood in foster care. With this book, Shadrach once again became an award-winning finalist in the African American fiction category of the National Best Books 2008. The book has also been highlighted in the East Bay Express, an alternative weekly newspaper serving Berkeley, Oakland, and the greater San Francisco East Bay area.
• Also in 2008, Shadrach published his fifth book, Stories of Relevancy: 11 Reading Passages for Comprehension, a work that goes further than most traditional reading comprehension books in many ways. To promote family values, Shadrach also produced a jigsaw puzzle for little children, A Family Dinner.
• In April 2008, Shadrach started working on a children’s book that combines education and storytelling. He and graphic designer Derrick Bryant plan to release this book in 2010.
• Always on the path to prove his childhood critics wrong, Shadrach became Dr. Shadrach Linscomb on May 22, 2009, when he graduated from the University of San Francisco with a doctoral degree in education.
• On June 13, 2009, Shadrach conducted his first Writing & Self-Esteem Workshop for children between the ages of 8 and 12 to help them to develop an interest in writing, a passion for creative art, and a general good feeling about accomplishing something important. The fruit of this workshop will be the book Young Authors & Artists: A Collection of Work from Creative Children, scheduled for release on September 21, 2009.
Shad, thanks so much for sharing your story with us here at Book Reader's Heaven! Blog Readers, I met Shad by reviewing Player Related in 2008. Watching his life move ever forward is a powerful story...He is a man to be watched for the Future! Shadrach Linscomb is a Man Determined to be Heard!