a professional writing career that spans more than twenty years, Marita Golden
has distinguished herself as a novelist, essayist, teacher of writing and
literary institution builder. Her fiction includes the novels Long Distance
Life, (a best-seller, cited as a Best Book of the Year by Washington Post
critic Jonathan Yardley), A Woman's Place, And Do Remember Me, and
The Edge of Heaven. In the genre of nonfiction, Marita Golden has edited
three anthologies, Gumbo: An Anthology of African America Writing with E.
Lynn Harris; Wild Women Don't Wear No Blues: Black Women Writers on Love, Men
and Sex; and with writer Susan Shreve, Skin Deep: Black and White Women
As a teacher of writing, Marita Golden has held appointments at George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as a member of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing Program. She has also taught at Emerson College, The University of Lagos (Nigeria), Roxbury Community College, and American University.
Marita Golden has lectured on the topic of literature, women's studies, African-American Studies and African American literature nationally and internationally. She has read from her work and held writer-in-residence positions at many schools, including Brandeis University, Hampton University, Simmons College, Columbia College, William and Mary, Old Dominion University and Howard University. She has also been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Articles and essays by Marita Golden have appeared in Essence Magazine, the New York Times and The Washington Post.
Marita Golden founded and served as the first president of the Washington-D.C. based African American Writers Guild. Since 1990 she has headed the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, which presents the nation's only national fiction award for college writers of African descent and an annual summer writer's workshop for Black writers, Hurston/Wright Writers' Week, as well as the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for published Black writers.
Among the awards Marita Golden has received in recognition of her writing career and her work as a "literary cultural worker," are the 2002 Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community, the Barnes and Noble 2001 Writers for Writers Award presented by Poets and Writers; an honorary Doctorate from the University of Richmond; Induction into the International Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent at the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University; Woman of the Year Award from Zeta Phi Beta; and a Distinguished Alumni Award from American University.
In the area of community and public service, Marita Golden is a member of the
Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of America, The Authors Guild and has
served as a member of the PEN/Faulkner Board, a judge for the PEN/Faulkner Award
and on the Advisory Committee for the Mobil Pegasus Prize for Literature.
Word: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of
Reading and Writing
Paperback: 224 pages
In these thirteen strikingly candid interviews, bestselling authors, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and writers picked the Oprah Book Club discuss how the acts of reading and writing have deeply affected their lives by expanding the conceptual borders of their communities and broadening their sense of self.
Edwidge Danticat movingly recounts the first time she encounters black character in a book and how this changed her worldview forever; Edward P. Jones speaks openly about being raised by an illiterate mother; J. California Cooper discusses the spiritual sources of her literary inspiration; Nathan McCall explains how reading saved his life while in prison; Pearl Cleage muses eloquently about how other people's stories helped one make one's way in the world; and world renowned historian John Hope Franklin -- in the last interview he gave before his death -- touchingly recalls his childhood in the segregated South and how reading opened his mind to life's greater possibilities.
The stories that emerge from these in-depth interviews not only provide an important record of the creative life of the leading black writers but also explore the vast cultural ad spiritual benefits of reading and writing, and they support the growing initiative to encourage people to read as both a passion and a pastime.
All Love: Black Writers on Soul Mates, Family and Friends
Edited and with an introduction by Marita Golden
Paperback: 432 pages
of the Heart: An Autobiography
Excerpt from Chapter One
The bullets discharge from the muzzle of officer Carson Blake's sixteen round Beretta with the tinny explosive popping sound of a toy gun. He will not remember exactly how many shots he fires so wildly. Fires with pure intent. Fires, he is sure, to save his life. In the first seconds after the shattering sound of the bullets subsides, he would say, if sked right then, that he had fired every bullet in his gun. Never before has his gun been so large. Never before has it weighed so much. He's dizzy and breathless. His hearts beats so fast he can't believe he is still standing.
When he shoots the man, everything, all of it, unfolds as if in slow motion. He wants to look away. He dares not turn his gaze. The first bullet boring through the man's thick neck riddled with razor bumps, the force twisting his head to the side, as though he is looking with those astonished, horribly open, not yet dead eyes to see where the bullet comes from. The second bullet piercing the skin of the black leather jacket, lodging in the flesh of his shoulder. The third bullet, fired at his groin, bringing him to his knees, and then onto his face, flat out sprawled on the parking lot forty feet from the entrance to the Chinese Restaurant, The House of Chang.
Staring at the man on the pavement, his body a bloody heap illuminated by the fluorescence of the mall parking lot lights, when Carson Blake sees the cell phone a few feet from the man's hand, he prays for the ground beneath his feet to shift in a cataclysmic rumble and swallow him whole. A cell phone, he thinks, unbelieving. A cell phone. Not a gun. He hurls a howl, deep, and guttural, into the night. Sinking to his knees, he touches the man, turns him over on his back, sees the bulbous, bloody wound in his neck, smells the stringent odor of his sodden groin, desperate now to find, to feel, a pulse. There is none. There is only the cell phone. Looking up in desperation, Carson sees a sky unfamiliar and frightening, in which he can fathom not a single star, a vastness that makes him wish for wings.
Carson tries to stand but cannot and crawls a few feet away and vomits. When there is no more sickness to spill from his gut, he wipes his mouth and shouts at the dead man, through trembling lips stained with a blistering splash of tears,
"To be sure, this book is not a pity party - but, rather, a nuanced look at
identity, and the irrepressible and graceful will of the human spirit. Peppering
her narrative with "Postcards from the Color Complex," reminiscences of some of
the author's most powerful experiences, Golden takes us inside her world, and
inside her heart, to show what a half-century of intraracial and interracial
personal politics looks like. We come to see the world through the eyes of the
young Marita, and the dualism that existed in her own home: the ebony-hued
father, who cherished her and taught her to be "black and proud," and the
lighter-skinned mother, who one summer afternoon admonished Marita while she was
outside, "Come on in the house - it's too hot to be playing out there. I've told
you don't play in the sun, 'cause as it is, you gonna have to get a
light-skinned husband for the sake of your children."" At every turn in her life
- in high school, her black power college days, as a young married woman in
Africa, as a college professor, as an accomplished author, and even today - race
and color are the inescapable veils through which Golden has been viewed.
A Celebration of African American Writing
A literary rent party to benefit the Hurston/Wright Foundation of
African-American fiction, with selections to savor from bestselling authors as
well as talented rising stars.
Saving Our Sons: Raising Black Children in a Turbulent World
Marita Golden began her writing career with Migrations of the Heart, a memoir about living with her husband in his native Nigeria. In Migrations, Golden described how it was only with the birth of her child - a son - that she was truly respected, for in that culture males are held in the highest esteem. Ten years later, in SAVING OUR SONS, Golden presents, in essence, her son's story. Having returned to the United States from Nigeria, Marita and Michael, in his teens, find their lives haunted by evidence of a horrifying statistic: The leading cause of death among black males under the age of twenty-one is homicide.
The boy who was once surrounded by a warm, loving African family is now looked upon with scorn by many whites and with a deep, aching fear by his fellow African-Americans that his life may be casually taken. Through the story of raising her son against the backdrop of a racially divided society, Golden confronts the causes of the violence that surrounds African-American men and reassesses the legacy of her own generation's struggle for civil rights. She talks to psychologists, writers, and young black men - criminals and scholars both - and explores how single black mothers are often blamed for troubled youth. In this fiercely lyrical and revealing narrative, Golden has created a work of profound and lasting importance: a book that sensitively and uniquely addresses the problems of boyhood and emerging manhood. This is a book in which mothers across the country will see themselves and their sons.
Skin Deep: Black Women and White Women Write about Race
Marita Golden (Editor), Susan Richards Shreve (Editor)
Candid, poignant, provocative, and informative, the essays and stories in Skin Deep explore a wide spectrum of racial issues between black and white women, from self-identity and competition to childrearing and friendship. Eudora Welty contributes a bittersweet story of a one-hundred-year-old black woman whose spirit is as determined and strong as anything in nature. Bestselling author Naomi Wolf recalls her first exposure to racism growing up, examining the subtle forms it can take even among well-meaning people; bell hooks writes about the intersection between black women and feminist politics; and Joyce Carol Oates includes a one-act play in which racial stereotypes are reversed. Among the other writers featured in the collection are Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Susan Straight, Mary Morris, and Beverly Lowry. A groundbreaking anthology that reveals surprising insights and hidden truths to a subject too often clouded by misperceptions and easy assumptions, Skin Deep is a major contribution to understanding our culture.
A Woman's Place
Here is the compelling story of three black women who meet at a New England college in the late sixties and form a friendship that will guide them through the changes, joys and tears of the coming years, as they each search for A Woman's Place.
Do Remember Me
In the exciting, yet frightening days of Freedom Summer in 1963, two very different African-American women meet, each to discover in the other an elegant completion of herself. Jessie, running from her sexually abusive father and distant mother, is a born actress. In the movement she discovers an unknown world of personal freedom that could shape her into an extraordinary talent or destroy her from within. Macon, beautiful, fearless, and brilliant, knows she is too good to settle for less than she's worth, but her activism threatens the man she loves.
In a vital time of politics and passion, dedication and distress, two women struggle to recreate themselves and their world'and learn to love the fight.
A Miracle Every Day: Triumph and Transformation in the Lives of Single Mothers
--Excerpted From Kirkus Reviews
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