Last week, Barnes & Noble announced Damon Young’s accomplishment in their flagship store in New York, for his novel, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker,” a thoughtful and often humorous collection of essays on race, culture and the state of being of an African-American male in America.

Though this is his first published book, he’s no stranger to writing. Young co-founded Very Smart Brothas, a website for pop culture criticism; which was recently acquired by Univision and merged with The Root, another Black culture website.

It’s his memoir of understanding his masculinity in navigating economic insecurity. In the book, Young is very open about his struggles in the city of Pittsburgh, but his love for the city allowed it to be a part of his story in a big way; so much so that he personified it.

“I don’t have that many supporting characters in my book, so I felt I needed to make Pittsburgh one of them. I love watching “Desus and Mero,” and many of their jokes are so insular and New York specific, but they work because, even if you don’t know the reference, you recognize their rhythms, the intent and the communal connection with the humor. So I was like: Why not do it with Pittsburgh?”

The book is to be released Mar. 26 from ECCO, a Harpers Collins Publisher. For winning the B&N award, Young will receive a cash prize and marketing support from the bookseller.

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