Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Word: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing

The Word: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing

The Word: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing

By Marita Golden
Broadway
224 pages
$14.99

“In interviews with 13 black writers including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nikki Giovanni, and Edwidge Danticat, Golden (Migrations of the Heart) celebrates the pleasure of reading and writing spliced with personal glimpses of the contributors (late reader, straight-D student, ex-prisoner, college professor, illiterate mother, bookstore-owning father) that reveal the extraordinary diversity in literary tastes and habits. Even as many of the writers mention reading the canonical Du Bois, Hughes, Morrison, Ellison, and Baldwin, others are drawn to Madame Bovary and Madeline, Catch-22 and Carlyle. Essayists testify to the inspiration of particular teachers, the encouragement of other writers (two mention Gwendolyn Brooks specifically), and most frequently parental enabling and support. Golden’s introduction is moving and often lyrical; her headnotes are succinct and helpful; her interviewer voice is muted, direct, and consistently directed toward letting the writer speak. ‘I tremble with anticipation each time I open a book,’ writes Golden. ‘I smile with satisfaction when I read the last page.’ Her readers will do the same.”

Publishers Weekly

Tagged: