We started writing literary criticisms several years ago, focused on Black female literature, in part to give attention to the non-stereotyped, richly developed, excellent writing featuring Black women from the Caribbean (primarily Jamaica, Barbados, and Haiti) West African Nations (primarily Ghana and Nigeria), Europe (primarily England, translated Dutch and translated French), and America (primarily those whose origins trace to Southern Black America).
Over the past decade that we have been doing this, we have read and reviewed poetry, YA, children, and an expansive canon from the 20th and 21st century writers. It excites us that we have more to read than time and that there are more Black women book clubs, Booktok, Bookstagram, and book podcasts featuring diverse writing.
In the ever growing American diversity, we look forward to expanding our repertoire. We read richly and diversely, however, stay true to only writing criticisms of those works by those identifying within the Black/African Diaspora.
Several of our works have been written by AfroLatinas and Black. women of mixed heritage, adding a rich tapestry to what it means to read oneself in the story. We are well into this new century, social media influences our lives in continuously evolving ways, yet, the yearn for the slow, deliberate pace of a story, still reaches the soul. That is our space.
The world is diverse. More people of color than not, and more are telling authentic stories. We look Forward to these writers being part of the lexicon offered in our nation’s high schools and colleges. Who gets to decide a classic.
For us, we want to be the one with the pen.
Real stories about real people and not just relegated to slavery, Jim Crow, or the Civil Rights Era, this is where the opportunity lies. It is exciting to see so many emerging writers lifting stories reflecting the 2000-2020s with some recurrent themes to the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Era. Racism and Sexism, Caste as Isabel Wilkerson describes it, will continue to be reflected in the publishing industry and what makes it before the reading public. The era of social media, Twitter, Instagram, and Self-Publishing divisions of Amazon are giving more writers a platform to get their work out without gatekeepers. Many authors are on Twitter and Instagram now with active engagement with readers. It is an exciting time to be caught between the pages!
We will keep reading, writing, and connecting at Tayé Foster Bradshaw’s Bookhelf.
We spend our summers in literary works with black teens at The Hurston and Hughes Literary Circle™.