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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

Writers Like Me

Greetings Afrigeneas Writers Forum:

Author Martha Southgate's musings about the black writers' dilemma "Writers Like Me" was published in the NY Times Sunday Book Review (July 1,2007).

Ms. Southgate, a fiction writer, interviewed fellow authors and publishers about the plight of African American writers. She wrote"...Iím black, born and raised in the United States. At the parties and conferences I attend, and in the book reviews I read, I rarely encounter other African-American ďliteraryĒ writers, particularly in my age bracket. There just donít seem to be that many of us out there, and thatís something Iíve come to wonder about a great deal. And so I got on the phone with some editors and African-American writers to talk about it."

Although her focus is on "literary" fictional writers, there are many parallels to historical and family history writers. The challenge is the same... getting published. Southgate touches on several challenges from racism to the "economic insecurity" of black writers.

She briefly mentions the publishing industry's marketing street/urban lit, a subject discussed by Dera on the Writers Forum and Book Forum. "Writers Like Me", prompted comments from Marcella Jenkins. She wrote:

"One of the biggest phenomena in recent years in the publishing industry has been the rise and popularity of black urban or street lit.

Yet Martha Southgate makes only glancing mention of this genre and instead accuses the literary establishment of racism for failing to nurture black literary writers in the same way it nurtures white literary talent. If there are fewer African- American literary writers, the fault may lie with a black readership that prefers its tales to be raunchy rather than refined, and narrated in vulgar rather than poetic language."

To read further comments, please click on the link directly below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/books/review/letters3.html

Martha Southgate's article too brief to explain the challenges of that black writers face in the publishing world.

Ishmael Reid writes a compelling observation:

"Even the media that print entertaining op-eds about the anti-intellectual attitudes of African- Americans who, according to them, view reading as "acting white," have had to admit that African-Americans have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on book purchases."

Please read Martha Southgateís' "Writers Like Me" at the main link below.

I'd be interested in your reactions to the article.

Regards,

Write Away

Messages In This Thread

Writers Like Me
Re: Writers Like Me

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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