Publishers Weekly cover from Dec 2009
The other day I was reading an interview with Ishmael Reed and he said some things about Black fiction that got me to thinking.? The interview was with Jill Nelson for his new book, “Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: Return of the Nigger Breakers.” Tell me how you REALLY feel Mr. Reed.
There is one part of the interview about Black art that stood out to me:
Jill Nelson: Why were you unable to get this book published in the United States?
Ishmael Reed: This is attributable to the state of black letters. Serious fiction and non fiction by blacks are becoming extinct, except for that which upholds the current line coming from the media owners and the corporations that all of the problems of Africans and African Americans are due to their behavior. This is true not only for literature but for black theater, film, art galleries and opinion columns as well. I saw a show of Kara Walker?s work at the Brooklyn Museum. I feel that this young brilliant artist?s growth is being stunted by museum curators, and big money capitalists. Even some white intellectuals support her most mediocre work and pit her against the great Betye Saar who uses a variety of materials and subject matter and whose work contains more depth.
This gave me something to think about, in terms of the serious, capital F fiction vs. hood lit conversation.
A little about my book background. I am a long time book list keeper. My? book list weighs a ton. And I don’t really get to read fiction often, so quirky fiction is special to me both because of my lack of time for it and its scarcity.
In fact, looking at my book list I realize that I have always had the eye and mind of an archivist (I have been working on a database of Black women artists which will be a link page on NMM then a site in its own right eventually.)
Then @janie_crawford and I had a conversation about the fact that Paul Beatty needs to be on Twitter. Say? Word. I was beginning to think about where are these Quirky Black Fiction writers who have published in the last ten or so years, as newcomers?