Category: books

“I’m black. I’m solitary. I’ve always been an outsider.” This is how Octavia Butler described herself, the first self-possessed Black woman writer introvert, I had the honor of writing about for publication. Actually interviewing her was one of the great honors of my life, two years before her death in 2006. I wonder what she […]

I self-published my memoir The Beautiful Darkness: A Handbook for Orphans in October 2016 after spending more than 20 years working on one version of the story or another. The book’s name comes from two sources. The concept of being an orphan, particular in the Black community, may seem jarring. We are, after all, known […]

Last Friday evening, I was first in line at the Harry Belafonte Library in Harlem to listen to the first in a series of talks co-presented by the National Book Foundation and the New York Public Library called Notes from the Reading Life featuring two Black women I admire: Thelma Golden and Kaitlyn Greenidge. Golden […]

I wrote about the Bronx Book Festival for the Village Voice and how the Bronx is having a resurgence of the book scene with the work and leadership of Saraceia J. Fennell and Noelle Santos, but there were a couple of quotes from one of the panels that I wanted to add in the spirit […]

Roses for the living. I was thinking of this saying when I first heard that Erica Garner had a heart attack and we were all hopeful for recovery. I was surrounded by my family, and my sweet nephew led us in prayer for her, and my thoughts were consumed with her and her family, what […]

It is easy to be smitten with Zadie Smith, as I think I am. She has freckles and I love freckles. She can sing. She has a lovely accent. She is witty. She writes well. Actually, she’s brilliant. I’m a fan of her nonfiction, and I was smitten more with Changing My Mind, her book […]

I remember exactly when I learned that reading in the hood is a revolutionary act. It was at the heavy hands of Michelle, the largest sixth grader I’d ever seen, who was one of the Bronx girls around the way who liked to chase me to deliver a beat down as punishment for not letting […]

When I was 16 or 17, I sometimes had the great privilege of riding with some of my high school classmates to author lectures at SUNY Albany. One of my favorite hobbies back then was attending readings, book signings and lectures. It was one thing to be obsessed with reading and writing, to escape in […]

Little Ray knows the Bronx better than anyone. He has been a proud train operator for many years. But while the Bronx has always held memories of his mother, Gloria, and his daughter, Lorraine, it also reminds him of the pain of losing the love of his life. Jasmine Castro was the woman of Little […]

As unreliable as memory can be, some things never leave you. When my mother and I were locked out of apartments and houses when I was a little girl, I do not remember the times or the dates, but I remember loss. I remember my favorite pink bunny sweater, the one with miniature white bunnies with […]