The Future of African American Literature and the Paradox of Progress
Locke, whose new novel The Cutting Season is set at a Louisiana plantation re-purposed for weddings and Civil War reenactments, joins Edwards (Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership) to explore how African American literature, rooted in stories of struggle and dispossession and overcoming all odds, has been affected by the same racial progress that has culminated in the first African American presidency.
Attica Locke’s first novel, Black Water Rising, was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize in the UK in 2010 and nominated for an Edgar Award as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Attica has spent many years working as a screenwriter, penning movie and television scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, and Twentieth Century Fox, among others. She was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmakers Lab and is a member of the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most recently, she wrote the introduction for the UK publication of Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying. Her second book is The Cutting Season.
Erica R. Edwards is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside and the author of Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership. Her work on African American literature, politics, and gender critique has appeared in journals such as Callaloo, American Quarterly, American Literary History, and Women and Performance; she is currently working on a book about African American literature and the War on Terror.