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 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 21st century writers. It excites us that we have more to read than time and that there are more Black women book clubs, bloggers, and Instagrams featuring diverse writing. In the ever growing American diversity, we look forward to expanding our repertoire to include more Indigenous and API writers. 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. As we embark further in the 21st century with American becoming more like the world, 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 telling our stories.
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™.