April 18, 2012
Manning Marable, Wesley Morris among this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners
By Donovan X. Ramsey
4:02 PM on 04/16/2012
The Pulitzer Prize committee at Columbia University announced its winners Monday afternoon. Among those selected were three black writers: film critic Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe, Tracy K. Smith for her book Life on Mars and the late Manning Marable for his final work, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.
Morris won the best criticism award, Smith for poetry and Marable in the category of history.
One of Morris’ reviews submitted for the consideration by the Pulitzer committee was his commentary on the movie The Help, where he wrote critically, “The Help joins everything from To Kill a Mockingbird to The Blind Side as another Hollywood movie that sees racial progress as the province of white do-gooderism.” It was one of many views expressed by black audiences and a part of most analysis that surrounded the film up until Hollywood’s award season.
Marable’s book was also controversial upon its release, just three days after the scholar’s death, for its complicated depiction of a slain civil rights figure. Critical acclaim came soon after however, with Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention receiving a nomination for the National Book Award and named one of the New York Times’ top 10 books of 2011.
Tracy K. Smith’s wining work of poetry, Life on Mars, was also heralded by the New York Times for it’s vastness. Smith’s approach to the relationship between humans beings and the universe was described as sending readers “out into the magnificent chill of the imagination and then returns us to ourselves, both changed and consoled.”
November 11, 2011
Derrick Bell, a legal scholar who saw persistent racism in America and sought to expose it through books, articles and provocative career moves — he gave up a Harvard Law School professorship to protest the school’s hiring practices — died on Wednesday in Manhattan.
|One of his best-known parables is “The Space Traders,” which appeared in his 1992 book, “Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism.” In the story, as Professor Bell later described it, creatures from another planet offer the United States “enough gold to retire the national debt, a magic chemical that will cleanse America’s polluted skies and waters, and a limitless source of safe energy to replace our dwindling reserves.” In exchange, the creatures ask for only one thing: America’s black population, which would be sent to outer space. The white population accepts the offer by an overwhelming margin. (In 1994 the story was adapted as one of three segments in a television movie titled “Cosmic Slop.”)
See more at New York Times.
By FRED A. BERNSTEIN
Published: October 6, 2011
October 10, 2011
By HILLEL ITALIE – AP National Writer | AP – Tue, Sep 20, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) — Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1983 and still a widely taught and talked about novel, is finally coming out as an e-book.
But not through a traditional publisher.
Open Road Integrated Media (http://www.openroadmedia.com/), the digital company co-founded two years ago by former Harper Collins CEO Jane Friedman, has reached an agreement with Walker to release the electronic version of “The Color Purple” and most of her other work.
New editions of “The Color Purple” and the novels “The Temple of My Familiar” and “Possessing the Secret of Joy” were released Tuesday. On Nov. 22, eight more books will be published. The e-books will include author interviews, photographs and personal documents.
Walker is best known for “The Color Purple,” set in rural Georgia in the 1930s. It was adapted into a 1985 Steven Spielberg film of the same name and more recently into a Broadway musical.
“I love reading a good book while flying through the air,” Walker said in a statement. “I’ve traveled all my life and have visited many of the faraway places I dreamed of as a child: India, Australia, Bali, South Africa, Iceland, etc. On each journey I’ve carried books. Books that taught me a lot, while engaging my sense of wonder, but that got heavier and heavier! Open Road promises to be a way for my books to accompany travelers on their own journeys of exploration and learning.”
Open Road has previously acquired e-rights to such best-sellers as Pat Conroy’s “The Prince of Tides” and William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” by offering royalty rates of 50 percent, double what traditional publishers usually offer, and by promising aggressive promotion.
“Open Road has the best technical know-how and best forward-moving energy. I love the way all the people I’ve worked with express and carry themselves: with confidence and enthusiasm but also with a sense of experience. They have a track record,” Walker said.
“If this were not enough, there is a sense, lacking often in publishing, of connectedness with the author, of all of us being in this adventure together, wanting it to be the best.”
Walker’s agent, Wendy Weil, wrote in an email that “with e-book publishing bursting into popularity during the last two years, this seemed to be the perfect time and e-publisher to market her backlist successfully.”
For more, see Yahoo News.
October 9, 2011
Mosley’s Easy Rawlins is back
Easy Rawlins is back on the case.
Walter Mosley has a three-book deal with Doubleday, including two more novels featuring the Los Angeles detective played by Denzel Washington in the film version of “Devil in a Blue Dress.”
The character seemed to have met his end at the conclusion of “Blonde Faith” in 2007, but Doubleday said the next Easy Rawlins book will arrive in 2013. It didn’t say whether the new books will be set before or after “Blonde Faith.”
NBC also is reported to be developing a drama series based on the Rawlins detective.
See Los Angeles Times.
October 9, 2011
September 13th, 2011
NBC bringing Walter Mosley‘s ‘Easy Rawlins’ to TV
Walter Mosley‘s private investigator Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins is moving from fiction to primetime.
According to Deadline, NBC is developing a project called “Easy Rawlins,” based on Mosley’s best-selling series.
The novels feature a self-taught black detective who finds himself solving crimes amidst the changing social landscape of Los Angeles from the ’40s to the ’60s, but NBC will narrow the show’s focus to the latter decade. The character is one that moves easily between the segregated worlds of L.A.
July 12, 2011
Do booksellers still need sections dedicated to black authors and books?
That’s what Arielle Loren is wrestling with over at Clutch. When Loren was younger, she appreciated that there was a space where she could easily find the books she said reflected her interests. But now that she’s a professional writer, she wonders if the black section is keeping black authors’ work from getting a wider reading.
“Why not diversify mainstream front store literature to reflect the multicultural reality of this country?” she asks. “More than black readers ought to be reading black literature.”
For more, see Gene Demby‘s article at Black Voices.
January 11, 2011
Never in My Wildest Dreams is the story of a courageous journalist who helped change the face and focus of television news. Born to a 15-year old Louisiana laundress during the Great Depression and raised in the overcrowded projects of Oakland, California, Belva Davis overcame abuse, racism, and sexism to become the first black female news anchor on the West Coast.
Davis covered many of the most explosive stories of the last half-century, including the birth of the Black Panthers, the Peoples Temple cult that ended in the Jonestown massacre, the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk, the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and the terrorist attacks that first put Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Along the way, she encountered a cavalcade of cultural icons: Malcolm X, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Nancy Reagan, Huey Newton, Muhammad Ali, Alex Haley, Fidel Castro, and others.
Davis’ absorbing memoir traces the trajectory of an extraordinary life in extraordinary times.
Available February 1, 2011 in Hardcover
August 1, 2010
Available November 2, 2010 in Hardcover
An intimate look behind the CNN journalist’s most compelling reporting moments and how it has shaped her perspective on America’s future.
“Story is our medium. It’s how we connect emotionally with our viewers. And it’s how we make sense of our world…When we talk about a ‘big story,’ we’re really talking about what resonates with people, what matters to them…And I think when it comes to our national narrative, what we need to realize is that we’re all contributing to the story, that we can affect where this country is going.”
From top CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien comes a highly personal look at her biggest reporting moments from Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the devastating Haiti earthquake to the historic elections and high profile interviews with everyday Americans. Drawing on her own unique background and consciousness as well as her experiences as a journalist at the front lines of the most provocative issues in today’s society-and particularly from her work as host of the acclaimed series Black in America and Latino in America-O’Brien offers her candid, clear-eyed take on where we are as a country and where we’re going.
What emerges is both an inspiring message of hope and a glimpse into the heart and soul of one of America’s most straight-talking reporters.
The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities
by Soledad O’Brien with Rose Marie Arce
April 3, 2010
By FELICIA R. LEE
Published: March 22, 2010
The New York Times
The 10th National Black Writers’ Conference begins on Thursday at Medgar Evers College in New York, an anniversary that prompted Walter Mosley to remember his first conference, in the 1980s. He was just one of many unpublished, struggling writers who showed up, he said. An editor had passed on his first novel, about the detective Easy Rawlins, with the rationale that the publishing house already had a black detective novel.
“Terry McMillan said you have to sell books out of the trunk of your car,” Mr. Mosley said.
But in the age of President Obama, when successful black writers can be found across genres and a Nobel Prize winner, Toni Morrison, can be tapped to be the honorary chairwoman of the event, do black writers still need a conference to call their own?
In interviews, many black writers and editors, and others in the book world said yes. Black authors are part of the broader society’s struggles with the legacy of discrimination and exclusion, they said, and often need a more strategic approach to getting their work promoted, reviewed and sold.
The conference, expected to attract 2,000 people, is a chance for writers to study and celebrate one another and for readers to hear writers presenting their work and dissecting social and literary themes. Over four days of workshops and discussions, the participants can also grapple with issues like the value of black sections in bookstores, the paucity of black editors in publishing and how to expand the list of black writers taught in schools.
For the full article, see The New York Times.