Letter to Jimmy (Soft Skull Press) is a book-length letter to James Baldwin by the Congolese author Alain Mabanckou. In this imaginary letter, James Baldwin is addressed as a mentor who spoke to issues of race and sexual identity first. Mabanckou has written a dozen novels in French. In these books, he transfers the rhythms of Congolese languages into his French. He tries to insure that his English translators maintain African cadences. Mabanckou's own novels are beginning to be published in America. He teaches French and African literature at UCLA.