Sunday, May 3, 2009

Colson makes the cover

A rare event: A black American novelist on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. It happened in 2007 to Michael Thomas. And this week, to Colson Whitehead in a laudatory, thoughtful review by Toure of his newest novel Sag Harbor.

Whitehead's work, in particular, seems to bring out the philosophical in those who write about it, that which considers what it means to be a "black writer," perhaps because of his sturdy unwillingness to be pigeonholed, to apologize and because of his intellectualism. Sag Harbor is being hailed as his most emotional, "sentimental" book. You can see Whitehead talk about the book himself here.

We at Ringshout are also interested in Toure's call for more "post-black" fiction. Can it only be written by folks under 40 (a note from Martha Southgate: as a 48-year-old novelist, I like to think the answer is no)? What does it mean? Do we need to define it? Should we quit worrying about all this and simply write what we like? Thoughts are welcome.


Carleen Brice said...

Look at our almost 48-year-old president.

Karen L. Simpson said...

It's not like black people haven't been writing "post black" stories and novels in the past, it only now that editors and publishers decided it's okay to publish one.

Also For the life of me, I can't understand why we finally get out of one box and then proceed to help the publishing industry build another set of boxes that will help limit our work. My white writer friends are not sitting around thinking about how to write something "post white" They write what they want, what is in their hearts to create.

I think we should stop worrying about it and write what stories we have been given or want to tell. We owe that to ourselves and to our readers.

jamey said...

Lafreya said what I wanted to, only better and more elegantly.