Posts by: Abigail Bereola

Where You Put It on the Line: A Conversation with Mychal Denzel Smith

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Mychal Denzel Smith discusses his debut nonfiction book Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, how the activist space has changed in recent years, and who he is writing for. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Roxane Gay

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Roxane Gay discusses her new collection, Difficult Women, the problem with whiteness as the default and the need for diverse representation, and life as a workaholic. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Brit Bennett

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Brit Bennett discusses her debut novel The Mothers, investigating “what-if” moments, and navigating racism in white spaces. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Yaa Gyasi

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Yaa Gyasi discusses her debut novel Homegoing, growing up in Alabama, the multiplicity of black experiences, the legacy of slavery, and her writing process. ...more

Reflecting Your Radicalism, No Matter the Cost

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Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones), known for his poems, plays, and for the initiation of the Black Arts Movement, died on January 9th. Though there have been many articles talking about the man as legend, over at The New Yorker, Hilton Als discusses the man as human through the lens of Als’ personal relationships with various members of the Jones family.  

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“All Your Life is a Work of Art”

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The Atlantic has been hosting a series called “By Heart,” where authors discuss their favorite quotes in literature.

Edwidge Dandicat talks about her immigration experience and chooses a passage from a novel by Patricia Engels, which articulates that “trying to start a life in a strange land is an artistic feat of the highest order, one that ranks with (or perhaps above) our greatest cultural achievements.”

Dandicat says, “This brings art into the realm of what ordinary people do to in order to survive.

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Do Likable Characters Equal Likable Stories?

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I wonder if that is the case for many of us. Perhaps, in the widespread longing for likable characters, there is this: a desire, through fiction, for contact with what we’ve armored ourselves against in the rest of our lives, a desire to be reminded that it’s possible to open our eyes, to see, to recognize our solitude — and at the same time to not be entirely alone.

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“You’re Not Surprised, Are You?”

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“Imagine a life in which you think of other people’s safety and comfort first, before your own. You’re programmed and taught that from the gate. It’s like the opposite of entitlement.”

In light of George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal, drummer and producer Questlove reflects on “pie in the face” moments and what it means for him to live his life as a black man in the United States, despite his celebrity.

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You Can’t Have A Revolution Unless You Make It For Yourself

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When a book is read, the story is transferred from the writer to the reader. Occasionally, however, the reader is allowed a glimpse into what the author may have been thinking through letters or interviews.

When George Orwell wrote Animal Farm, it was primarily meant to be “a satire on the Russian Revolution.” But there was a little more to it than just that.

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After 65 Years, “The Lottery” Endures

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Since its publication in 1948, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson has become an American classic, appearing in high school classrooms, as well as in the hands and on the computers of people around the nation.

On the 65th anniversary of the publication of “The Lottery,” Ruth Franklin at the New Yorker discusses the 300+ letters, most of them negative, that came pouring in—“the most mail [the New Yorker] had ever received in response to a work of fiction.”

Franklin details some of the angry and bewildered responses from readers, including some amongst the New Yorker’s staff.

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A Brief Look at Other Victories and Defeats

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From SB5 in Texas to the Voting Rights Act to the defeat of DOMA, this has been a bittersweet week. But among all of the apprehension and excitement, a few things happened that you may have missed. We don’t usually cover politics too heavily on the Rumpus, but the flurry of judicial activity seems worth a mention.

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Neil Gaiman Publishes The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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According to The Independent, Neil Gaiman’s new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, released yesterday, is “possibly Gaiman’s most lyrical, scary and beautiful work yet. It’s a tale about childhood for grown-ups, a fantasy rooted in the darkest corners of reality.”

Although Gaiman is known for children’s books such as Coraline and the new book is narrated by a seven-year-old, it is not meant for children; in fact, it’s his first adult novel in eight years.

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