“I Came To Chicago To Work”

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!

Chicago Review of Books

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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Remembering Maria-Hélène Schneider…

46 years ago, a moving picture testified to sexual assault against a woman. It moved all around the world, in fact. Only, the world called it “art.” Not much has changed since. This most visible example of a public rape frames sexual assault’s most misunderstood and excused forms: coerced consent, false pretenses and pressure as permission. And people can still buy and sell this sexual assault on film to this day. Why?