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Characters in New Novel by Professor David Dante Troutt Pursue Dubious Investment Scheme as Payback for Discrimination

May 21, 2007 – 

In his teaching and scholarship, David Dante Troutt, Professor of Law and Justice John J. Francis Scholar at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, focuses on issues of race, urban poverty, and intellectual property – often combining them for a fresh look at the intersection of law and culture. Now, in his first novel, The Importance of Being Dangerous, Professor Troutt conjures a world in which the temptation to catch a share of the Internet boom windfall from which they’ve been shut out carries its African-American protagonists into increasingly risky circumstances.

The Importance of Being Dangerous, published in April by Amistad/Harper Collins, has won strong reviews for its plot and dialogue. In a book jacket blurb, best-selling author James Patterson says, “David Dante Troutt has written a fine, textured novel with three characters – Sidarra, Grigg, and Yakoob – who hold us spellbound from start to finish.” The book’s principals, who despite their hard work have little hope of reaping any of the spoils of the go-go 1990s, hatch a plot to siphon off money from wealthy individuals who’ve harmed the African-American community. When they take on a drug dealer as a partner, the scheme veers off into dangerous territory.

In 2006 Professor Troutt explored the same theme of the consequences of racial and economic discrimination in After the Storm: Black Intellectuals Explore the Meaning of Hurricane Katrina, an anthology which he edited. He also contributed “Many Thousands Gone, Again,” which deals with historical facts that made New Orleans’ persistently poor neighborhoods vulnerable to sudden devastation in the same way that ghettoes across America fall prey to slow deaths. 

Professor Troutt is the author of several law review articles as well as the book The Monkey Suit – And Other Short Fiction on African Americans and Justice. He earned his B.A. with distinction from Stanford University and his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as executive editor of the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. As a lawyer, he practiced both public interest and corporate law, advocating on a broad range of areas including inner-city economic development, intellectual property, and commercial litigation. A member of the Rutgers faculty since 1995, he teaches Torts, Business Torts and Intellectual Property, Community Economic Development, and Race, Literature, and Critical Theory.