Thursday, October 01, 2009

Back in the link groove

The Chicago Tribune has a new literary blog - Printers Row.
I want to read E. Lynn Harris' last novel, but it makes me sad to think about it. Mama Dearest is the title.
Read Tananarive Due's remembrance of E. Lynn Harris on her blog.

E. Lynn Harris is one of the author's I really would have loved to see in person. It's still amazing to me that I never did hear him read in person. Certainly, had he ever been somewhere that I could get to, I would have gone.

I hear such wonderful things about his events - Tananarive Due mentions them in her blog post as well.

When I was a teenager, James Baldwin was the author I really wanted to meet. And it seemed that one day, when I was out in the world, I surely would meet him. When he died I was still in high school and was saddened for the loss of one of our great American writers. And I had a selfish thought too about not ever having the chance to see him and hear him in person.

Octavia Butler, who I didn't read until years later, is another author I really wanted to hear. I read her books over and over and am still challenged and inspired by the patternists and the theology of her characters. I am thankful to have her work to read, though I always wonder how many stories are left untold.

And now, E. Lynn.

So my thought to share is this - when you have a favorite author, a writer you like, someone whose work is touching lives and adding something beautiful, challenging and important to the culture, go and hear them. Make the effort. Drive, listen, buy the book.

I have bought books I already own - or read years before just because I was so happy to hear a beloved writer speak.

And if you go to many book events you know that many are not well attended. Your presence matters. Your questions matter. And what you hear will matter to you.

So I am thankful to have heard so many people read or to have simply met these authors:
Tina McElroy Ansa
Blanche Richardson
Pearl Cleage
Valerie Wilson Wesley
Tayari Jones
Sonia Sanchez
Nikki Giovanni
Amiri Baraka
Joshilyn Jackson
Shay Youngblood
Edwidge Danticat
Maya Angelou

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