Archive for the ‘African American Literature’ Category

Search for Miles Davis Book Leads to James Baldwin’s Last Interview

July 7, 2015 Leave a comment

I stumbled across an interesting book on James Baldwin recently while trying to find the title of Miles Davis’s autobiography that was cowritten by Quincy Troupe,  JAMES BALDWIN: THE LAST INTERVIEW AND OTHER CONVERSATIONS.   Troupe had conducted the last interview with Baldwin in 1987, the year he died, but the book which includes this interview and others, was published in December 2014 by Melville House.  So in my search online for Miles through Quincy Troupe, I found the Baldwin book.

As revealed in William Maxwell’s great book, F.B. EYES: How J Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature, Baldwin was one of several African American writers whose literary works were monitored and critiqued by the FBI for subversive content.  The FBI dossier of 1,884 pages on Baldwin was the largest on file for African American writers.
Considering current racial tensionsin our nation, and Baldwin’s writings on race and his role in the Civil Rights Movement, now is a good time to read The Last Interview.


Upcoming Interviews for July Feature Black Cowboy Deadwood Dick, Theologian Martin Luther, & Legendary Black Mystery Writer Walter Mosley

July 3, 2015 Leave a comment

We have an exciting mix of new fiction and nonfiction authors scheduled for KAZI Book Review in July including New York Times best selling mystery authors Walter Mosley and Ace Atkins.  Some of the topics covered by these authors include:

  • The theologian Martin Luther, who launched the Protestant Reformation in Germany breaking away from the Catholic Church in the early 1500s, in a compelling narrative focusing on his life during its most turbulent and productive time in 1521-1522 in LUTHER’S FORTRESS by author James Reston 
  • Advice for educators on how to teach students of color who live in poverty by a passionate advocate for their education inRAC(E)ING TO CLASS  by University of Pittsbuurg Professor of Education H. Richard Milner
  • The legend of African American cowboy Nat Love, better known as Deadwood Dick, brought to life through a fictional retelling of his life in PARADISE LOST, a first person narrative by award winning Texas mystery writer Joe Lansdale

Interviews for July

July 5 – Ivan G. Goldman, THE DEBTOR CLASS (fiction); David Morrell, INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD (fiction)

July 6 – James Reston, LUTHER’S FORTRESS: Martin Luther and His Reformation Under Siege

July 12 – Jewell Parker Rhodes, BAYOU MAGIC (children’s fiction-middle grade); Joe Lansdale, PARADISE SKY (fiction)

July 13 – H. Richard Milner, RAC(E)ING TO CLASS: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms

July 19 – Ace Atkins, THE REDEEMER (fiction) and ROBERT B. PARKER’S KICKBACK (fiction)

July 20  – James McGrath, EYE ON THE STRUGGLE: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press 

July 26 – Neely Tucker, MURDER, D.C. (fiction); Victoria Schorr, BADLANDS (fiction)


Tune in every Sunday 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m CST and every Monday 8 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. CST to KAZI 88.7FM in Austin, Texas for KAZI Book Review.

Novelist Sterling Watson and Black Author Summer Reading Recommendations Focus of KAZI Book Review

June 7, 2015 Leave a comment

Sterling Watson, author of the novel SUITCASE CITY and Peggy Terry, co-chair of the Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society in Austin, Texas are today’s guests on KAZI Book Review at 12:30p.m. CST.

Set largely in and around Tampa, Fla. in 1997, SUITCASE CITY captures the racial tension in the area when a former white star college quarterback is accused of assaulting a young black man.  Watson uses the resulting media frenzy surrounding the incident and the characters to explore the difficulties of race relations.

Sterling Watson is the author of six novels and teaches in the MFA program at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts.  He is also the codirector of the Eckerd College Writing Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Peggy Terry, an avid reader and longtime member of the Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society, will be discussing her list of 10 Black authors that published books this year to read this summer.


Attica Locke Book Giveaway May 31

May 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Tune in to KAZI Book Review at 12:30pm tomorrow for the opportunity to win free copies of Attica Locke’s first novel, BLACK WATER RISING on KAZI 88.7FM.  Listen live online through,, or their respective apps, or at  


Book Giveaway & Live Interview With Attica Locke Sunday

May 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Attica Locke, author of the new novel PLEASANTVILLE,  will be interviewed live on KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7FM Sunday, May 31 at 12:30pm CST.  Set in 1996 in the real life black neighborhood of Pleasantville in Houston,Texas, PLEASANTVILLE is the sequel to Attica’s first novel, BLACK WATER RISING, which was published in 2009.  Free copies of BLACK WATER RISING and PLEASANTVILLE will be given away to listeners Sunday.  Tune in to the live interview for more details.

A native of Houston, Texas, Attica Locke is a writer and producer of the FOX hit TV show Empire.  She is also author of the novel THE CUTTING SEASON.


Fifteen years after the events in Black Water Rising, Jay Porter is struggling to cope with catastrophic changes in his personal life and the disintegration for his environmental law practice. His victory against Cole Oil is still the crown jewel of his career, even if he hasn’t yet seen a dime, thanks to appeals. But time has taken its toll. Tired and restless, he’s ready to quit.
When a girl goes missing on election night, 1996, in the neighborhood of Pleasantville – a hamlet for upwardly mobile blacks on the north side of Houston – single father Jay is deeply disturbed. He’s been representing Pleasantville in the wake of a chemical fire, and the case is dragging on, raising doubts about his ability.
The missing girl was a volunteer for one of the local mayoral candidates, and her disappearance complicates an already heated campaign. When the nephew of a candidate, a Pleasantville local, is arrested, Jay reluctantly finds himself serving as a defense attorney. With a man’s life and his own reputation on the line, Jay is about to try his first murder in a case that will also put the electoral process on trial, exposing the dark side of power and those determined to keep it.  


Rebroadcast May 4: Attica Locke Discusses The Cutting Season

May 3, 2015 Leave a comment

Tune in Monday, May 4 at 8 a.m.CST/9a.m.EST for the rebroadcast of my 2013 interview with Attica Locke about her last novel, THE CUTTING SEASON. Coming Monday, May 11 at 8 a.m. I’ll be airing an interview with her about her new novel, PLEASANTVILLE. 


LA Residents Attica Locke & Steph Cha Bring Diversity to the Mystery Genre

April 30, 2015 Leave a comment

While Walter Mosley is a legendary mystery novelist that brought badly needed diversity to the genre with his iconic protagonist Easy Rawlins first introduced in the novel DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS in 1990, there are two rising stars in Los Angeles that have quickly won my admiration and fandom: African American writer Attica Locke and Korean American Steph Cha.   

Attica has published three mystery novels, all featuring black protagonists, BLACK WATER RISING in 2009, THE CUTTING SEASON in 2012, and PLEASANTVILLE in April 2015.  Cha published two mystery novels featuring Korean American sleuth Juniper Song, FOLLOW HER HOME in 2013 and BEWARE BEWARE in 2014.  Her third novel, DEAD SOON ENOUGH, will be published in August 2015 with Juniper Song back again.

Attica, a native of Houston, now may be better know for being a writer and producer for the hit series on Fox, Empire.  But in 2009 when I read her first novel, BLACK WATER RISING, set in Houston in 1981, I was blown away by her depiction of the post civil rights black student activism on college campus in the flashback scenes and the internal struggle of her protagonist, Jay Porter, to overcome his bitterness from his activism days and get involved in a case that could endanger his life. But I was also mesmerized by her depiction of the Black community and its struggles through the eyes of her protagonists.

 While Attica lives in Los Angeles, two of her three novels were set in Houston: BLACK WATER RISING (set in 1981) and PLEASANTVILLE (set in 1996), both which feature Jay Porter.  In both Jay Porter novels, she makes the reader feel the weight of his past and pain, but most importantly his courage to overcome them to pursue justice.

While Attica is a transplant to LA, Steph Cha was born and raised there and has set all her novels in present day Los Angeles. What’s enchanting about Cha’s novels is how she captures the kaleidscope of cultures in the neighborhoods and characters featured in her novels.  Whether its Koreatown or a Latino gang, I feel like I know the rich diversity of Los Angeles when reading Cha.  As for her protagonist Juniper who is in her late 20s, I feel the restlessness and emotional baggage she carries and her desire to jumpstart her life through sleuthing, Raymond Chandler style.  And I cannot forget another perspective Cha brings to the novel throug Juniper for me, the perspective of the millenials on life in America as they see it.  As a babyboomer with two daughters that are millenials, it is an eye opening experience.

So if you’re a mystery lover looking for diverse voices in literature, read Attica Locke and Steph Cha novels.  If you’re just looking for an entertaining mystery novel, read Attica Locke and Steph Cha novels.




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