Charles Barber is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the College of Letters at Wesleyan, as well as a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Yale. He is the award-winning author of two nonfiction books: Songs from the Black Chair: A Memoir of Mental Interiors (University of Nebraska Press); and Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation (Pantheon/Random House). He is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, was the recipient of a Great New Writers designation by Barnes & Noble, and has twice been a finalist for the Connecticut Book Prize. His current book project is Citizen Outlaw: A Gangster’s Journey, forthcoming from Ecco/HarperCollins. He also is the co-editor, with the Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee, of The Wounded Healer: History, Theory, and the Needed Transformation of Our Culture of Health, to be published by the Springer Monograph series in 2018. Barber grew up in Middletown, and was educated at Harvard and Columbia Universities.
Barber has written on mental health and criminal justice issues, both in popular and scholarly publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, The Nation and Scientific American Mind. He has appeared on the BBC, CNN, CBS News, and NPR’s Fresh Air. As a criminal justice researcher, he co-designed a study funded by the Department of Justice involving the hiring of former prisoners to be counselors in a halfway house. The intervention resulted in dramatically lower criminal recidivism and was named the Outstanding Criminal Justice Program in the Northeast by the National Criminal Justice Association. He has published scholarly articles on criminal justice issues in The Journal of Federal Probation, The Wilson Quarterly, Aggression and Violent Behavior, and What is Criminology? (Oxford University Press).