Bird at My Window

A novel by Rosa Guy

May 5, 2001 • 5.5 x 8.5 • 220 pages • 978-1-56689-111-0

This vibrant narrative dissects the complexity of white-on-black as well as black-on-black racism.

Rosa Guy’s powerful first novel follows Wade Williams, a brilliant young black man who wakes up in a mental hospital and is told he has assaulted his sister. Throughout Guy’s engrossing story, Wade retraces his steps to identify the circumstances that brought him to commit this unthinkable act, and reveals the rich complexity of mid-twentieth century Harlem and its mothers, sons, and daughters, whose aspirations prevail and perish within both white and black America. A compelling personal story and a razor-sharp cultural critique, Bird at My Window is the third title in Coffee House Press’s acclaimed Black Arts Movement Series.

The Black Arts Movement Series is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, The Medtronic Foundation, Laura Jane Musser Fund, and Star Tribune Foundation, in cooperation with the Givens Foundation for African American Literature.

About the Author

Born in Trinidad, Rosa Guy (1922-2012) was the author of fifteen novels, including Bird at My Window, The Friends, and A Measure of Time. She was a co-founder of both the Harlem Writer’s Guild and the Black Arts Movement. Guy received the Coretta Scott King Award, the American Library Association’s Best Book Award, and the Phyllis Wheatley Award, given by the Harlem Book Fair. Guy lived in New York City.


“This book was welcomed when it was first published in 1966. Its brave examination of a loving, yet painful, relationship between a Black mother and her son is even more important today. Rosa Guy is a fine writer and she continually gives us new issues to contemplate. Welcome Bird at My Window.—Maya Angelou