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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

My culture is the American culture: Eddy L. Harris.

“Is it one country here or several countries glued together?”

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, May 13, 2007

TO author Eddy L. Harris, on his first visit here, India has been a very diverse experience. What it is long term and what it is that binds the people together, intrigue him. “It certainly isn’t the language,” he says. “I want to explore it.” Harris was invited to the first Mussoori International Writer’s Festival. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, he was in Chennai recently, as part of a speaking tour of India. Excerpts from an interview.

You are an author of critically acclaimed books Mississippi Solo: A River Quest, Native Stranger: A Black American’s Journey into the Heart of Africa, South of Haunted Dreams: A Memoir and Still Life in Harlem: A Memoir to name a few. In these, though you explore places and the people within, you claim you aren’t a travel writer. How do you ‘slot’ yourself?

I don’t slot myself. I am a ‘journey writer’, if you can use such a term … as much interior as exterior. It’s all about the experience of learning about places. Travel writing is easy. I travel the way a person would travel. Coming to the point of Harlem, I lived there the way a person there would live in that place.

You have been placed in the ranks of (travel) writers like Pico Iyer, Lawrence Millman, Mark Jenkins. What are the challenges you face?

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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