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Claudia Tate
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Black Women Writers at Work

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The tone and spirit of this splendid volume of conversations with fourteen Black women writers is eloquently stated in Claudia Tate's introduction: "With one penetrating glance they cut through layers of institutionalized racism and sexism and uncover a core of social contradictions and intimate dilemmas which plague all of us, regardless of our race or gender." Responding ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 1983 by Continuum International Publishing Group
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Nakachi
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book changed my writing life, my whole concept of myself as a Black woman writer at work.
Tichaona Chinyelu
I love Toni Morrison's take on "writer's block:

"When I sit down in order to write, sometimes it's there; sometimes it's not. But that doesn't bother me anymore. I tell my students there is such a thing as 'writer's block,' and they should respect it. You shouldn't write through it. It's blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven't got it right now. All the frustration and nuttiness that comes from 'Oh, my God, I cannot write now' should be displaced. It's just a message to you say
...more
Kathleen
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful collection of interviews, published in 1983, which include some iconic writers I have recently read and loved, such as Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Their writing approaches were fascinating to me, but what really struck me was the way so many of them emphasized their responsibility as writers.

Audre Lorde put it simply, “My responsibility is to speak the truth as I feel it, and to attempt to speak it with as much precision and beauty as possible.
...more
Shira
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was moved with both recognition, and with fear, again, at Audre Lorde's comment that "it's scary because we've been through that before. It was called the fifties. Then I was moved with that stirring to act, upon reading in print what I have known and been told in different words since Dunbar (High School): "My responsibility is to speak the truth... with as much precision and beauty as possible. ... We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't."
And we must not remain silent whil
...more
Micole Williams
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was HARD to find. I am so glad I finally did because this book is changing my life - one chapter at a time ... So many of these women are women I consider "big-sister scribes" in my head ...women I really wish I had the opportunity to meet and talk to about their writing, personally - so this is an AMAZING gem. One of the things that makes this book so special is the selection of literary greats featured. They were interviewed in their prime or in early aspects of their career. This bo ...more
Keondra Freemyn
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, own
i really took my time with this one - not because it wasn’t engaging, but it is a work to be savored and carefully digested. i enjoyed hearing from so many writers in their own words and grappling with what it means to write and the implications and consequences brought on by their perceived and self-defined gender and racial/socio-economic place in society. it’s also a gift to bear witness to the self-conceptualization of writers who have now solidified their place in the canon. Ntozake Shange ...more
M. Ainomugisha
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brazen and valiant collage of Black women writers’ interviews that I hope returns to print soon because these are urgent times and these are urgent musings on the Black radical folkloric/literary tradition.

Selected writers from Toni Cade Bambara to Margaret Walker vitalized my heart for literature and offered concise yet generous critiques of their own work as well as that of other writers.
Portions responding to the virginal purities of white womanhood as well as the violences wreaked upon Bl
...more
Angie
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Major Field Prep: 60/133
This collection of interviews of the major black female writers of the mid-to-late 20th century, conducted by Claudia Tate, contributes as much as a project in itself as the content of the dialogues. A shift in the ideological terrain by 1983 made such a collection possible. The interviews highlight both personal lives and autobiographical content as well as the critical perspectives each writer holds of their own work, other criticism of their work, and of each other's w
...more
Nicole Woolaston
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was very interesting to read Nikki Giovanni and Toni Morrison's perspectives on writing. They made me realize, I don't identify myself as a "black writer", just a writer. I do agree with their view of how men and women write differently. I think women writers pour more emotion into their writing, because more of their writing comes from experience. ...more
S.
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I need to own this. Period.
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Claudia Tate (December 14, 1947 – July 29, 2002) was a noted literary critic and professor of English and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is credited with moving African-American literary criticism into the realm of the psychological.

(from Wikipedia)

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