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Old 08-28-2002, 03:58 PM
CMC CMC is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Contemporary Black Women Authors

Hello bibliophiles. I am buying belated presents for my best friend, who awhile back, was completely involved in reading, discussing and devouring contemporary black somen authors. Obviously, his favorite is Toni Morrison. So I am looking for something aside from that but yet in the same vein.

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-28-2002, 07:33 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 40,304
How about Octavia Butler to expand her horizons? If she balks, mention the MacArthur Grant.

And "The Parable of the Sower" is a fine novel in all respects.
"East is East and West is West and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
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Old 08-28-2002, 08:11 PM
FisherQueen FisherQueen is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Alice Walker springs to mind. Nobody doesn't like "The Color Purple." Great book.

Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" isn't contemporary, but it is fantastic.
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Old 08-28-2002, 10:20 PM
Askia Askia is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Atlanta
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There is no other like Toni Morrison: deep, insightful, near-perfect prose and masterfully skilled at unfolding a story... dammit, this is what Nobel laurete writing should feel like.

Alice Walker gets too metaphysical and bohemian, Zora's much too sassy and earthy, and Terry McMillian is like a tan Jackie Collins with fewer literary skills. McMillan's last two novels, HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK and A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT, frankly, sucked.

RealityChuck hit the nail on the head with Octavia Butler as probably the strongest contender with the clarity and power of her impassioned prose -- but her ouvere is science fiction, and some people just can't get into that. You might want to start your friend's introduction to Butler with something more immediate and less obviously sci-fi than PARABLE -- KINDRED springs immediately to mind -- her novella about a time-tossed black women who's linked with an ancestor in the 1800s. KINDRED was my introduction to Butler when I was 12 and still remains one of my favorites after almost 20 years.

Sandra Jackson-Opoku has written two excellent novels I highly recommend: THE RIVER WHERE BLOOD BEGAN reminds me a lot of Gabriel Garcia Lopez at times, and her long tale of a travellin' man, HOT JOHNNY, was equally hard to put down.

Finally, I can't say enough about Mildred D. Taylor's ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY and its sequel LET THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN. Yes, I know these novels are more than 25 years old. YES, I know they'll likely be in the young adult section.... still, I think these two novels have the same sad-tragic-pride and immenently timeless Southern quality as Lee Harper's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, easy.
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Old 08-28-2002, 10:33 PM
celestina celestina is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
I second the Octavia E. Butler suggestion. Kindred is also an excellent place to start with her, but anything she writes is just great. I also agree with Zora Neale Hurston.

As far as Alice Walker, try her short story collections. She's a far better short story writer than novelist.

Also anything by: Tananarive Due, Gloria Naylor, Nalo Hopkinson, Jamaica Kincaid, Paule Marshall, Gayl Jones, Mariama Ba, Maryse Conde, Toni Cade Bambara, Margaret Walker, bell hooks, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Edwidge Danticat, and J. California Cooper. I can't remember the name of the young lady who won the Pulitzer for Drama this year. Lori Parks?

My brain is fried right now, but if I remember more, I'll post them. In the meantime this list should keep y'all plenty busy for awhile.
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Old 08-28-2002, 11:21 PM
ResIpsaLoquitor ResIpsaLoquitor is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Gwendolyn Brooks, one of my favorite modern poets. (Died a few years ago too, I believe.)
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Old 08-29-2002, 10:53 AM
CMC CMC is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Argh! I have tried to post twice now to thank you all. Let's hope this one shows up. Thanks! I took all your suggestions and ended up buying and an anthology with as many of the mentioned writers as I could find: Black-eyed Susans/Midnight birds :stories by and about Black women.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-29-2002, 11:30 AM
UrbanChic UrbanChic is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
I have nothing to add other than Brooks was an awesome poet. She was the first black poet to be awarded to Pulitzer Prize.
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Old 08-29-2002, 11:31 AM
davidw davidw is offline
Join Date: Jun 1999
Octavia Butler, Toni Cade-Bambara, Thulani Davis.
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