A Good Influence: Writers on the Authors and Texts that Influenced Them

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[by Meredith Wiggins] The pleasures of Shay Youngblood’s Black Girl in Paris (2000) are many and vast, but one of the most prominent is the chance to follow along as main character Eden, a would-be writer, attempts to grapple with the literary legacy of James Baldwin, whose writing inspired her to move to Paris.  The novel is rich with references to Baldwin and his body […]

Jamaica Kincaid, the American Book Awards, and the Limits of Autobiography

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[By Meredith Wiggins] On August 14, the 19 honorees for the 2014 American Book Awards were announced.  Among them was Jamaica Kincaid, the Antiguan-American semi-autobiographical novelist and essayist recognized for See Now Then (2013), her first novel since 2002’s Mr. Potter. The American Book Awards recognize “excellence in American literature without restriction or bias with regard to race, sex, creed, cultural origin, size of press […]