Gholar has a provided missive for a new way to write about the creative life, art-making and (most specifically) Black women navigating those historically troubled waters for all talents.
Dear Readers: Rachel León interviewed me for Chicago Review of Books on my latest novel SPEAKING OF SUMMER, the writing life and working in Chicago. I’d forgotten how much we covered: the novel composition process, support (or the lack thereof) for mental health, inequities in approaches to men and women’s meditative literature, unsafety for women. Share, repost, comment, like and follow. Thank you!
Kalisha Buckhanon doesn’t have a smart phone. Her first advice to new writers is to get rid of it. She writes on an old desktop computer without internet for the same reason she likes being a writer in Chicago — it allows her to get work done.
And that’s lucky for us because her new novel, Speaking of Summer, is a dynamic and important story that will provoke needed conversations about the devastating effects of trauma and mental illness.
In the novel, Summer walks to the roof of the Harlem brownstone she shares with her twin sister and disappears into the cold winter night. The mysterious circumstances of her disappearance set up a compelling tale about safety and violence, mental health and trauma, and victim invisibility.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Kalisha Buckhanon over the phone. An edited transcript of our conversation appears below.
Rachel León: I…
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After performing at countless New York City rite-of-passage venues and now with the band Cross Culture, she continues her fusion of soul, R & B and classic hip-hop with a new single: "Searching for Love." Yes- people still put on the music in backyards, pools, basements and garages to just dance. No occasion is necessary. But given we've arrived to Labor Day much faster than I realized one summer could pass, this weekend is a perfect one for "Searching for Love." Enjoy our conversation about this latest Nemiss song.
Develyn Biagas: a longtime educator and youth advocate now working on her PhD, with a specialty focus area of African-American girls and the school to prison pipeline. She also works in young adult literature and plans to publish her first Young Adult novel soon. I am happy girls she works with now have someone like her to look up to.
Every time I have declared the internet a graver impediment than asset to arts and culture, something comes along to renew my faith I will be wrong. That something came out of inspiration to commemorate Juneteenth with a listen to a live performance of Tyehimba Jess's Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection OLIO, transformed to an original production of Audible.
In honor of her birthday and Black History Month, read a prescient excerpt from Toni Morrison's 2008 letter to Barack Obama.
You'd be correct to expect this story of a young Renaissance woman's fantasy trip, to live like her iconic Black American idols, to be sexy and to weave in Josephine Baker. The novel's heroine goes to Paris in search of Baldwin and finds jazz, interracial love and the freelance hustler life...