Okay, we've gotta blow the horn a little for one of our own: Bridgett Davis's story, Lagos, adapted from her novel in progress, is in Narrative magazine. You can read it here for a modest donation. Yay, Bridgett!
Bernice McFadden raised an interesting and troubling question in her blog a couple of weeks ago. Here's what she had to say.
You may not know me, or my novels, because I am a member of a growing band of African-American writers of literary fiction who are slowly disappearing..... I don't rightly know why publisher’s market fiction written by African-Americans ONLY TO African-Americans - but it has become common practice. And by doing this, they've placed all AA authors in one box forcing them to compete for the attention of ONE audience. The word that has been coined to describe what is happening to AA writers is: Seg-Book-Gation
You can read the an article about her post here and her whole letter here
'Round the same time, Virginia DeBerry posted "An Open Letter to Oprah" on her blog, lamenting similar problems. Clearly, something's going on out there and it's not good. Yes these authors want to sell copies of their own books--all us authors want that--but they are touching on a problem that is pervading the industry right now. Don't want to just sit and cry but do need to think about where we go from here--and hey, Oprah's going off the air in two years. She ain't gonna save us.
Founded in 2007 by a group of writers, editors and booksellers,
ringShout: A Place for Black Literature
is dedicated to recognizing, reclaiming and celebrating
excellence in contemporary literary fiction and nonfiction
by black writers in the United States.
Why the name ringShout?
One of the first dances created by
Africans brought to America as slaves
in the 1700s, the ring shout was a
sacred circle dance of salvation that enabled
a community to find perserverance,
provided solace and rejuvenation,
and sheltered many early nuances of
Africanist culture and practice. (Adapted from Thea Nerissa Barnes,
The Association of Dance of the African Diaspora Dictionary 2005-2006)
We hope that our ringShout can be the same for serious, skilled black writers creating ambitious fiction. We also want to assert our centrality to all facets of the American experience, literary and otherwise.