Breena Clarke grew up in Washington, D.C., and was educated at Webster College and Howard University. Her writings have appeared in the anthologies Contemporary Plays by Women of Color and Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience. She currently administers the Editorial Diversity Program at Time Inc. in New York City. She lives in New Jersey.
the Storm: A Novel
Hardcover: 336 pages
"...illuminates and personalizes a dreadful
part of our nation's past...a vivid view of slavery."
(Booklist Michele Leber )
Even though Sewing Annie Coats and her son, Gabriel, have managed to buy their freedom, their lives are still marked by constant struggle and sacrifice. Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, where the Coatses operate a tailor's shop and laundry, is supposed to be a "promised land" for former slaves but is effectively a frontier town, gritty and dangerous, with no laws protecting black people.
The remarkable emotional energy with which the Coatses wage their daily battles-as they negotiate with their former owner, as they assist escaped slaves en route to freedom, as they prepare for the encroaching war, and as they strive to love each other enough-is what propels STAND THE STORM and makes the novel's tragic denouement so devastating.
Cross My Heart
Paperback: 256 pages
Oprah Book Club Selection, October 1999: Breena Clarke's first novel takes place in Georgetown in 1925, where a large and close-knit African American community took shape beneath the shadow of segregation. At the center of the story is baby Clara, who is swallowed by the Potomac as her sister, Johnnie Mae, cools off in the brackish water. It's the only place the girls can find relief--they're banned from the new, clean swimming pool the white kids use.
After Clara drowns, the river is never the same, and Johnnie Mae
hovers on the edge of womanhood wondering if she'll be able to
get past her guilt and emptiness. In an eloquent passage, Clarke
writes, "Losing a loved one, a family member, is like losing a
tooth. After a while, those teeth remaining shift and lean and
spread out to split the distance between themselves and the
other teeth still left, trying to close up spaces."
Black Silk: A
Collection of African-American Erotica edited by Retha Powers
Paperback: 352 pages
In the tradition of erotica collections like
Erotique Noire and The Blue Light Corner.Black Silk is filled
with lush, sexy stories featuring heroines who are
overwhelmingly in control of their sexual lives and unabashed
about their appetites. Representing a spectrum of styles and
sexual perspectives, contributors to this collection include
famed authors like Breena Clarke and Lolita Files as well as
exciting new voices in the African American literary scene,
including Carolyn Ferrell, the winner of the Los Angeles Times