David Anthony Durham was born in New York City in 1969. The child of parents of Caribbean ancestry, he grew up in Maryland. He began writing seriously while an undergraduate on a Creative Arts Scholarship at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. While there his short story, August Fury, won the 1990 Malcolm C. Braly Award for Fiction. Another story, The Boy-Fish, won the 1992 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Fiction Award and was published in Catalyst.
In 1994 David received a Full Fellowship to the MFA Program at the University of Maryland College Park. He wrote his first two novels during the program, Cicada and August Fury, both of which deal with contemporary issues within African-American families. (These two novels are unpublished.) He graduated in 1996. Shortly after that he moved to the United Kingdom, where he published two short stories, One Room Like a Cave in Staple: New Writing, 1998 and The She-Ape and the Occasional Idealist in QWF, June/July 2000. He received the equivalent of about fifteen dollars each for these gems.
In 1999, while living in France, David embarked on a new project, an historical novel set in the American West, featuring black homesteaders and cowboys. This novel, Gabriel's Story, was published by Doubleday in 2001 and was an Anchor Books paperback in 2002. Gabriel's Story was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Best of 2001 pick, and a Booklist Editor's Choice. It won the 2001 First Novel Award from the American Library Association's Black Caucus, the 2002 Alex Award and the 2002 Legacy Award in the Debut Fiction Category.
David followed Gabriel's Story with Walk Through Darkness in 2002, (Anchor Books 2003). This novel tells the tale of a runaway slave and the Scottish immigrant hired to track him. It was a Summer Reading Pick from The Washington Post, an Editor's Choice for Summer Reading from The Wall Street Journal, a New York Times Notable Book and one of The San Francisco Chronicle's Best Books of 2002. Both Gabriel's Story and Walk Through Darkness are available in audio versions from Recorded Books.
In July of 2003 he taught the Advanced Novel Workshop at the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation's Writer's Week, and in the fall of 2003 he was the Distinguished Visiting Writer at California State University, Fresno.
He published his third novel, Pride of Carthage, in January of 2005 (Anchor Books 2006). It's a fictional exploration of the Second Punic War between Carthage and the early Roman Republic. Pride of Carthage was a Book Sense 76 pick and a finalist for the Legacy Award for Fiction. It was published in the British Commonwealth by Transworld and in Italian by Piemme, in Polish by Rebis, in Portuguese by Editora Bertrand, in Romanian by RAO Publishing Group, in Russian by Eskmo, in Spanish by Ediciones B, in Swedish by Norstedts.
David's fourth novel, Acacia: The War With The Mein (June 2007), is a work of epic fantasy set in an alternative world. It made best of the year lists in Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, SciFi Site and Fantasy Magazine, and was a finalist for the Prix Imaginales in France. It's also being published in the United Kingdom by Transworld, in French by Le Pre Aux Clercs, in German by Blanvalet, in Italian by Piemme, in Polish by Mag Jacek Rodek, in Russian by Recliff Holdings Ltd, in Spanish by Ediciones B, and in Swedish by Norstedts. Audio version from Tantor Media — with the golden voiced Dick Hill narrating.
His fifth novel, Acacia: The Other Lands (September 2009), continues the Acacia series. It's also published in the United Kingdom by Transworld, in French by Le Pre Aux Clercs, in German by Blanvalet and in Portuguese by Saida de Emergencia. Audio version from Tantor Media.
His sixth novel — the concluding volume of the Acacia trilogy — is Acacia: The Sacred Band (January 2012). It's published in French by Le Pre Aux Clercs, in German by Blanvalet, and in Portuguese by Saida de Emergencia. The audio version is available at Audible.com, with Dick Hill continuing the narration!
The entire trilogy is also scheduled to be published by Leya in Brazil.
David writes for George RR Martin's Wild Cards series of collaborative novels. His multi-part stories appear in Fort Freak (Tor, 2011), Lowball (2014) and is forthcoming in High Stakes (Tor, 2016).
David's seventh book, The Risen, is a historical novel about the Spartacus slave rebellion against the Roman Republic.
Four of David's novels have been optioned for development as feature films. Fingers are crossed.
He currently teaches Popular Fiction at the Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA Program. Previously, he was an Associate Professor in the MFA program of California State University, Fresno, the MacLean Distinguished Visiting Writer at The Colorado College, and he's taught at Hampshire College, the University of Maryland and the University of Massachusetts.