Tag Archives: History

Documentary Film on History of Blacks in Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction Books

“The Invisible Universe documentary reveals the history of the representations and participation of Black people in the genres of fantasy, horror and science fiction, or speculative fiction (SF). Framed through the POV of a time traveling Archivist, the documentary explores 150 years of speculative fiction literature, its origins, developments, key personalities and current state, all through the perspective of Black people and history. The documentary demonstrates how the genres, which were premised on the ideology of white supremacy, have been adopted and adapted by Black writers as a form of artistic resistance for envisioning different worlds and futures”

The film includes interviews with Black writers of SF like, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, Brandon Massey, and N.K. Jemisin.  This feature-length documentary has been in the works for several years. I discovered it while looking for a more recent video for author Brandon Massey.  It looks like it will be a fascinating film.science fiction writers
Six months ago this film was in post-production and theatrical and streaming distribution was planned for this year 2017. The film’s producer, director, and writer, M. Asli Dukan, is currently soliciting financial support; you may learn more on the film’s website: http://invisibleuniversedoc.com/

Black Writers Dominate the 2017 Pulitzer Prizes

Tyehimba Jess, Hilton Als, Colson Whityehead and LYnn Nottage. Black writers winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize

Back in January of this year, I took the time to try to figure out how many Black writers have won Pulitzer Prizes in the six “Letters and Drama” categories; Biography/Autobiography, Fiction, General Non-Fiction, History, Poetry, and Drama.  The results were spectacularly dismal.

The award was first bestowed in 1917.  The first award was not given to a Black person until 1950! Gwendolyn Brooks was the first to win for her book of poetry Annie Allen.  Almost another three decades would go by before another Black writer, James Alan McPherson would win for his novel, Elbow Room in 1978.

As far as I can tell, no Black writer has ever won for General Non-fiction. Only one writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was ever nominated in the category, for the spectacularly successful, Between the World and Me.

Up until 2016, only 19 Black writers have won Pulitzer Prizes during the first century the award was given.  However this year, three Black writers have won half of the awards in given in the Letters and Drama categories.  Given the history of the award, it is like lightning striking not twice but three times.

In fact, novelist and critic Hilton Als won the Award for Criticism.  I did not research the history of the other 18 categories for which Pulitzer Prizes are awarded.  The other categories deal mostly with journalism and reporting; I suspect that would be an interesting and revealing exercise to review those categories too.

I’d be the first to argue that the Black community does not need the validation of Pulitzer Prize Board to substantiate our work.  Indeed, given the history of the award, it is not expected either.  However, there have been substantive changes in the awards in recent years.  This is the first time three Black writers have won in these categories in a single year. Of the total 22 awards given to Black writers, almost half were given in the last 10 years.  This is a positive trend.

So while we do not need the award to know our writing deserves merit, it is, of course, welcomed when our literary merit is acknowledged and celebrated by the broader community.   In additional to the $10,000 monetary award, these writers will enjoy even greater success with better book advances and more lucrative speaking gigs.  This is America and awards like the Pulitzer help authors achieve financial success—a benefit denied so many talented Black writers.

AALBC.com congratulates all the winners of Pulitzer Prizes in the Letters and Drama categories:

Fiction
Colson Whitehead for his novel Underground Railroad

“For a distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity.”

Poetry
Tyehimba Jess for his book Olio

“For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.”

Drama
Lynn Nottage for her play Sweat

“For a nuanced yet powerful drama that reminds audiences of the stacked deck still facing workers searching for the American dream.”

 

New Books February 2017, Book Reviews, Events, and More

february 2017 New Books

New Books Coming Out February 2017

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often feels like it wants to break her.

Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray
A novel inspired by the seven deadly sins about a woman caught between an entertainment mogul with a shady past and his childhood friend who is out for revenge.

High Cotton: A Novel by Darryl Pinckney
This novel evokes a world that has not often been examined – the world of upper-middle-class blacks, obsessed with light skin and good hair.

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander
The Playbook is intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry and Michelle Obama.

The Lazarus Poems by Kamau Brathwaite
Central to the book is a series of poems outlining the speaker’s (the poet s) experiences with what he calls Cultural Lynching. The speaker’s pain and outrage are almost overwhelming. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, this book is moving in every sense of the word.

Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
“In this racially charged dance of power, the railroad into the interior of the country becomes a journey into the hearts of men and women. It is a dance of love and hate and mixed motives that drive human actions and alter the course of history. Kimani’s writing has the clarity of analytic prose and the lyrical tenderness of poetry.”—Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Learn about these and many more excellent books coming out in February and the coming months.


Recently Reviewed Books

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric DysonTears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

While his previous works were aimed at a Black audience, this is his first intended to be read by whites. It is also written in a unique literary style, namely, as a sermon designed to keep Caucasians standing on their feet like an inspired congregation of holy rollers.

If I were Dyson, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a positive reception from his intended audience, given the ascension of Donald Trump and the celebration of rednecks in the runaway best seller, Hillbilly Elegy. He might be better off redirecting his sermon to the African-American community and changing his incendiary opus’ subtitle to “Preaching to the Choir!” (St. Martin’s Press, Jan17, 2017)


The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling TaylorThe Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

Elizabeth Dowling Taylor’s new book, The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era is an important contribution to ensuring American history during the hundred-year period between the Emancipation Proclamation and the beginning of the Civil Rights era is told. The Original Black Elite communicates this history from the perspective of the life of Daniel Murray and his contemporaries in the Washington DC elite. His life and those in his circle demonstrated that Black success was not dependent upon white largess, and was only hindered when whites actively worked to stop it.. (Amistad, Jan 31, 2017)


width=Finding Heaven in the Dark by William L. Ingram

Ingram is a natural storyteller. Finding Heaven in the Dark is well written, heartfelt and readable. However, his path to self, through religion and meditation using this particular practice and teachings, is immensely personal. His belief system won’t be for everyone and at times it bordered on proselytizing, however his search for self, self-love and self-acceptance is universal. Ultimately, Ingram is asking big questions—questions we’ve all contemplated at one point or another—about existence, about faith, about how our choices make us, for better or worse, who we are. What he learns is that it is not what happens to us, but how we handle it, that really shows our strength of character. How he comes to this discovery isn’t really the point, it’s that he comes to it it all. That he finds redemption, faith, and self-acceptance in a life filled with such hardship, gives hope to all of us. And that is really the point. (Dog Ear Publishing, Jul 22, 2016)


A Blast from the Past: “The Book Beat” Radio Program

Lee MeadowsIn the late 1990’s Lee Meadows hosted a weekly radio program on WPON in Detroit called “The Book Beat”. Meadows’s program included interviews of our favorite African American Authors—some of them at the beginning of their careers.

AALBC.com has archived many of this programs including interviews with J. California Cooper, Eric Jerome Dickey, Tananarive Due, Lolita Files, Linda Dominique Grosvenor, Omar Tyree, and others for your enjoyment. You can even listen to an interview with me (AALBC.com’s founder and webmaster) which was conducted less than a year after this site’s launch. Visit the “Book Beat” to listen to these wonderful interviews.


AALBC.com Discussion Forums—Join The Conversation!

African-American Literature Discussion

Where is the highest concentration of Black-owned bookstores in the United States?
Three Black writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature; do you know who they are?
What are 8 things writers need to do to get published and not exploited\

Culture, Race & Economy Discussion

Why Obama’s statement, “The country is better off” Rings Hollow
I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!
The Best Definition of White Supremacy Ever


jeff at the fairTampa Bay Black Heritage Festival – Author Village

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the 17th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. The highlight for me was the Author Village, where I had to opportunity to meet several authors and even a couple of clients.

Some of the participating authors included Jeff Carroll, Holly Mosley Cooper, Darrin DeWitt Henson, William L. Ingram, Pamala McCoy, Ersula Knox Odom, Stephanie Outten, Paul C. Thornton, and Cathy Finch White. Learn more about these authors and thousands of others on AALBC.com.

Never miss another terrific event, visit our Events Calendar.


Pamala McCoyPamala McCoy Interviewed by Beauty Talk Illustrated Magazine

Managing BONA5D full-time gives Pamala the opportunity to help individuals navigate their financial woes through a struggling economy to reach a place of freedom. She has a special interest to work with women and support women issues, particularly financial education. She believes teaching them the important tools necessary to mastering their finances will subsequently build confidence and lead women to a place of financial independence.


Get Your Book on AALBC.com’s Homepage Until March 21st!

Winter SpecialYour book will appear on our Homepage and our Book’s Main Page for the entire winter until midnight March 21, 2017). Buy it now; this special deal ends January 31.

All Winter Special advertisers will get a 25% discount on the Spring Special. The winter and spring are the busiest seasons of the year on AALBC.com.

Also, if you purchase your Large Book Cover Advertisement we’ll give you a free Author Profile—permanent placement on AALBC.com—as an added bonus!

AALBC.com is the oldest, largest, and most frequently visited website dedicated to books written by, or about, people of African descent. There is no other website that reaches readers of Black literature more effectively.


Dear Reader,

AALBC.com 19th YearAALBC.com continues to grow and improve because of your ongoing support. If you value our content, here are four simple things should do to support AALBC.com;

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Peace & Love,

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Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


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AALBC.com eNewsletter – January 25, 2017 – Issue #241

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