Archive for the ‘African American Literature’ Category

Podcast: Akashic Books Author Eric Charles May Discusses Novel Bedrock Faith on KAZI Book Review

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment
Eric Charles May

Eric Charles May

Chicago native Eric Charles May recently discussed his debut novel, Bedrock Faith, on the March 24 edition of KAZI Book Review.  In the interview, May discussed how he crafted this novel in part from his experiences growing up in a black neighborhood in Chicago, the gossipy nature of the characters in his fictional middle class community, and  his long journey from journalist to novelist.  To listen to the interview click here:


Susan Straight Spins Tales of Louisiana Folks Living in California

April 6, 2014 Leave a comment

20140406-080717.jpgTune on to a live interview with Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here, at 12:30 p.m. CST on KAZI 88.7 FM. Between Heaven and Here is her third novel about an African American community of

Susan Straight

Susan Straight

families from Louisiana that came to Southern California after World War 2. In this book, Glorette, once the most beautiful and sought after girl in high school, is found dead in a shopping cart in the fictional community of Rio Seco. Straight uses multiple narrators to tell the stories of what drove the families to leave Louisiana and what struggles the younger generations face trying to survive and prosper.

Susan Straight was born and raised in Riverside, California. She teaches creative writing at the University of California, Riverside and still lives in the community where she was raised.

Justin Gifford Explores the Crime Fiction of Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, and Others in Pimping Fictions

April 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Justin Gifford was nominated this year for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best Critical/Biographical Book for Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing. Interviewing Gifford, who is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Nevada, Reno, is a great follow-up to my interview with Megan Abbott in late 2012 about her book The Street Was Mine, which featured a chapter on Chester Himes.

Growing up in New Orleans in the 1970s, Blaxploitation films were a staple of the movie diet of me and my peers. What I’m interested in are the connections between movies like Coffey, The Mack, and Superfly with the literature of Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines and the gangsta rappers like NWA, Ice T, Jay Z and the late Notorious BIG.

The interview with Gifford will air April 7 at 8am CST.


Listen to Interviews with Debut Novelists James Scott and Jacinda Townsend

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment

The KeptAs stated in an earlier post, the debut novels of James Scott and Jacinda Townsend, The Kept and Saint Monkey, respectively, are two of my favorites this year. The Kept, set in upstate New York in 1897, featured two protagonists, a mother and her 12 year-old son, seeking the killers of their family. What drives the novel is both the trek to find the killers and the unveiling of the secrets of the mother that lead to the tragedy, and her son learning the true story of his family.

Saint Monkey,set initially in rural Kentucky and other places between 1957 and 1963,the twoSaint Monkey protagonists are teenage women growing into adulthood who are best friends growing apart. Townsend captures the essence of the rebellious teenagers with the complication of being black in a segregated world while enduring family tragedy. With a backdrop of the burgeoning civil rights movement, the two women go their separate ways with periodic reunions filled with tension.

Both authors were interviewed on KAZi Book Review earlier this year. To listen to the interviews click:


Favorite First Time Novelists of 2014 – So Far

March 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Okay, it’s kind of early to begin handing out awards, but two first-time novelists deserve early recognition.  James Scott, author of The Kept; and Jacinda Townsend, author of Saint Monkey. Check out this New York Times review of The Kept and this review of Saint Monkey in Kirkus Review.

KAZI Guest Eric Charles May Sets New Novel in Chicago’s Black Community

March 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Eric Charles May discusses his new novel, Bedrock Faith, at 8 a.m. CST Monday, March 24, on KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM. Set in a middle-class Black neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, May’s novel explores the consequences of a former neighborhood bully’s misguided attempt at redemption. More information on the book is available at:

Eric Charles May, a former journalist, is an associate professor of fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago. Bedrock Faith is his first novel.


Kimberla Lawson Roby and Joe Muto Interviews Today on KAZI Book Review

July 21, 2013 Leave a comment

At 12:30 p.m. CT tA House Dividedoday on KAZI Book Review the first segment today at 12:30 p.m. features an interview with Kimberla Lawson Roby, author of A House Divided.  A House Divided is the 9th novel in Roby’s Reverend Curtis Black series. The series focuses on the trials and tribulation of Reverend Black, the pastor of a mega black church who struggles with the challenges of money, power, and infidelity. In this book Reverend Black and his wife Charlotte are about to become grandparents. While his wife fights with the other grandmother over control of the planned events for the yet born grandchild, a mysterious figure from Reverend Black’s past threatens to reveal a secret that will destroy everything he’s worked for.An Atheist in the Foxhole

On the second segment of KAZI Book Review today features Joe Muto, author of An Atheist in the Foxhole: A Liberal’s Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media is a memoir by Joe Muto, best known secretly as The “Fox Mole”—whose dispatches for Gawker made headlines in Businessweek, The Hollywood Reporter, and even on The New York Times website. In this book he delivers a funny, opinionated memoir of his eight years at the unfair, unbalanced Fox News Channel working as an associate producer for Bill O’Reilly.

Listen to KAZI Book Review live online click here.

Walter Mosley Interviewed on KAZI Monday Morning

May 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Walter Mosley, author of Little Green, the 12th Easy Rawlins novel and the first since 2007′s Blonde Faith, will be the guest on KAZI Book Review’s Monday morning edition at 8am CT Memorial Day on KAZI 88.7 FM.

In the interview Mosley talks about why he took a break from writing the Easy Rawlins mysteries and the source of the hippie culture that Easy encounters in 1967 Los Angeles.

Listen to Podcast With Haitian Novelist Elsie Augustave on KAZI Book Review

May 19, 2013 Leave a comment

The Roving TreeListen to the podcast of the interview on KAZI Book Review with Elsie Augustave as she explores the currents of identity, racism, class, and culture in her debut novel, The Roving Tree

The central character, Iris Odys, is adopted by an upperclass white American family in 1961 from a rural village in Haiti. The novel traces her life growing up in America and through flashback, the lives of her parents in Haiti. Augustave paints a vivid picture of the class conflicts, cultural and religious traditions of Haiti in the 1950s and 60s.

Black Lit Radio Podcasts with Koritha Mitchell for January and February

March 8, 2013 Leave a comment

For the January edition of KAZI Book Reviews’ Black Lit Radio segment, Koritha Mitchell interviewed playwright Charles Smith.  Smith’s plays have been produced  Off-Broadway and from coast to coast by theaters such as Indiana Repertory Theatre, Ensemble Theatre in Cleveland, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Jubilee Theatre, Ensemble Theatre in Houston, and Berkeley Repertory Theater.  To listen to the interview click here: Koritha Mitchell-Charles Smith Mixdown 1

For the February/Black History Month edition of Black Lit Radio, Koritha and I discussed the work of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison.  To listen to the interview click here: Koritha Mitchell-Feb 2013.


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