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Noteworthy Books, Nobel Prize in Literature Awarded, Dorothy Dandridge, and More - 10/12/2021


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DorothyDandridge AALBC1

Available once again, the definitive biography of the pioneering Black performer—the first nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award—who broke new ground in Hollywood and helped transform American society in the years before Civil Rights movement—a remarkable woman of her time who also transcended it. Woven from extensive research and unique interviews, as magnetic as the woman at its heart, Dorothy Dandridge captures this dazzling entertainer in all her complexity: her strength and vulnerability, her joy and her pain, her trials and her triumphs. Buy Now ▶


Abdulrazak Gurnah is a novelist who was born, in the Sultanate of Zanzibar and moved to the United Kingdom in the 1960s as a refugee during the Zanzibar Revolution.

The motivation for the Nobel Prize was, “…for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

The other Black writers who have won the Nobel Prize for literature are, Toni Morrison, of the United States (1993); Derek Walcott, of St. Lucia (1992), and Wole Soyinka of Nigeria (1986).


Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature by Farah Jasmine Griffin

With a solid array of books to her credit, Farah Jasmine Griffin has possibly written one of the artistic highlights in the national book marketplace this season. Her new book, Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature, is the perfect storm of imagination, research, compassion, and intellectual analysis. It soars to a new level of wisdom, community love, and enlightenment for readers and critics alike. Read the rest of Robert Fleming’s review ▶


The Between by Tananarive Due

We’re in the midst of a Black Horror renaissance. We have Jordan Peele, Colson Whitehead, and Victor LaValle all producing the masterpieces of our time. But let’s not forget who started it all—Tananarive Due is the queen of Black Horror. Writing dozens of mesmerizing novels, teaching Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA, and even producing the groundbreaking documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror—Due has been a leading voice for more than 20 years. And now, her hauntingly thrilling 1995 debut novel The Between has being reissued.

The novel follows the story of Hilton, a young boy who discovers his grandmother’s cold, dead body lying on the kitchen floor. When he returns with help, she’s alive but something just isn’t the same. The story picks up thirty years in the future—Hilton is married with kids and running a successful rehab center. But Hilton’s perfect life starts to flip upside down. He’s barely getting any sleep, his memories are fading, his relationships begin to fall apart. The line between reality and nightmares blurs…and Hilton’s mind begins to unravel… More ▶


Polo Cowboy by G. Neri, Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson

How does a Black kid from North Philly wind up playing polo? The much-anticipated sequel to Ghetto Cowboy, now a major motion picture starring Idris Elba and Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin.

When Cole moves in with his dad, Harp, he thinks life will be sweet—just him and his horse, Boo, hanging out with Philadelphia’s urban cowboys. But when Harp says he has to get a job, Cole winds up as a stable hand for the polo team at George Washington Military Academy, where the players are rich, white, and stuck-up—all except Ruthie, the team’s first and only girl, who’s determined to show the others she can beat them at their own game. As Cole and Ruthie become friends—and maybe more—he starts imagining his future, maybe even at the academy. Read an Excerpt ▶


The Forgotten First: Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley, Bill Willis, and the Breaking of the NFL Color Barrier by Keyshawn Johnson

The Forgotten First chronicles the lives of four incredible men, the racism they experienced as Black players entering a segregated sport, the burden of expectation they carried, and their many achievements, which would go on to affect football for generations to come.

More than a year before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, there was another seismic moment in pro sports history. On March 21,1946, former UCLA star running back Kenny Washington—a teammate of Robinson’s in college—signed a contract with the Los Angeles Rams. This ended one of the most shameful periods in NFL history, when African-American players were banned from league play. More ▶


Say Their Names: How Black Lives Came to Matter in America by Curtis Bunn, Michael H. Cottman, Patrice Gaines, Nick Charles, and Keith Harriston

“With five noted journalist, we crafted Say Their Names: How Black Lives Came to Matter in America, a book that will stand up over time as a historical reference that puts into context all of the life-changing events of the last year and a half.

We dug deep to create a book that will engage and inform you, like none other, about the times we will recall the rest of our lives. We cover Black Lives Matter, the coronavirus, racism in policing, mass incarceration, the role of the Black church, political forces and hope for the future in young leaders, and more.” —Curtus Bunn


Another Noteworthy Book by a 2021 MacArthur Fellow


Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration by Nicole R. Fleetwood

A powerful document of the inner lives and creative visions of men and women rendered invisible by America’s prison system.

More than two million people are currently behind bars in the United States. Incarceration not only separates the imprisoned from their families and communities; it also exposes them to shocking levels of deprivation and abuse and subjects them to the arbitrary cruelties of the criminal justice system. Yet, as Nicole Fleetwood reveals, America’s prisons are filled with art. Despite the isolation and degradation they experience, the incarcerated are driven to assert their humanity in the face of a system that dehumanizes them. More ▶


Interesting Events This Week


John Oliver Killens Virtual Reading Series: The Art of the Short Story: An Evening with Danielle Evans and Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

Thursday, October 14, 2021, 6:30 PM–8:00 PM ET, Presented Virtually

The Center for Black Literature will present a conversation and reading with authors Danielle Evans and Jocelyn Nicole Johnson. Johnson’s debut collection of short stories is My Monticello: Fiction (Henry Holt & Co., 2021). In the title story, Johnson tells of a diverse group of Charlottesville neighbors fleeing violent white supremacists. Evans brings her signature voice and insight to the subjects of race, grief, apology, and American history in The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories (Riverhead Books, 2020). She is the award-winning author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (Riverhead Books, 2010). Learn more and Register ▶


This free virtual event will be held on Wednesday, October 13th (11:00 am ET – 5:00 pm ET) and will feature author conversations, plus an interactive and immersive mystery/thriller experience for all participants. Walter Mosley, Kellye Garrett, S.A. Cosby, Yasmine Angone, Naomi Hirahara, and others will be your guides as they talk all things mystery-thriller! Learn how to access sessions on October 13th ▶


Dear Reader,

As always, you are why we’ve been able to make AALBC the premier online platform for books by, or about, people of African descent. Your paid subscription, book purchases, suggestions, engagement on the site, commenting, social sharing, and advertisements helps support AALBC’s mission.

Peace and Love,
Troy Johnson
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


This message is sponsored by sponsored by Amistad Books
Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated email.
★ AALBC.com eNewsletter – October 12, 2021 - Issue #337

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