Monday, March 19, 2007

Mother, artist/activist, friend? Apparently not

It must be exhilarating and exasperating to be Alice Walker's daughter. But I didn't really think about that much until today, when reading this story in the NYT about Rebecca Walker. To recap - she's partnered with a man, she has a two-year-old and lives in Maui (on Maui).

And she's estranged from her mother.

And she is being really honest. And, I think, rude and insensitive. Here's the quote I'm talking about:

The most incendiary notion in "Baby Love" may be that, for Ms. Walker,
being a stepparent or adoptive parent involves a lesser kind of love than the
love for a biological child.

In an interview, Ms. Walker boiled the
difference down to knowing for certain that she would die for her biological
child, but feeling "not sure I would do that for my nonbiological child."

The article refers to her previous, female partner (but does not name her, even though she's famous and it's well known that they were together) and the woman's son. Who Rebecca helped raise during the years they were together. I was really taken aback that she would a) think like that b) express it and c) put it out there for all the world to see, even this teenager.

I was really interested in reading her book and may still get around to it. But this really made me pause.

New writers to visit
I saw this blog today by three mystery writers - it's called Crime Sistahs.

Those sisters pointed me to a survey on racism and publishing at Karen Scott's web site.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A new publisher is in the mix

Tina McElroy Ansa announced Friday that she is starting a publishing company, DownSouth Press.

The full release is on her web site:

She had this to say in a GalleyCat item -

"I am not a self-publisher. We are a small press."

I've had this idea for founding this independent small press for a
number of years," Ansa continues. "It is in reaction not only to my own
experience in mainstream publishing (I've been published by three of the large
publishing houses), but also what I know other authors of color have run up
against—many writers of quality serious and contemporary fiction are being
passed over and being told that there is no longer a market for their
work." In her speech last week, Ansa described her plan to operate as "the kind
of involved, smart publisher I dreamed of and the type that every serious writer
deserves for his or her work." After publishing her own novel, "each of our
lists will feature a new book by a well-known, established author and at
least one debut work by a new voice in American literature... We plan to publish
the books that will be classics in years to come."

Ansa also directs writers retreats - I've been to two of them - and the next one is April 28 - 29 in Atlanta at Spelman College.

Details on the retreat are available at