Or, To Each Their Own
There’s a perpetual conversation about whether or not authors should participate in readers’ spaces and it came to a head recently with the author of Memphis. The drama played out on Instagram and Twitter and I’m glad Keyona said her piece on YouTube (watch it here) because the author did not come out looking excellent. Folks may not like one’s writing or characters and it’s a bad vibe to come after readers. It’s especially egregious to see an author essentially stalk a reader across Instagram and have other readers witness her behaviour. Big yikes.
Me, personally, I can be a Stan (see, most recently: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw) but I also know that the spaces we create as readers need to be safe from fans who can be problematic and that’s practically impossible if writers sic their fans on readers. Making art is risk-taking and this isn’t some sort of craft newsletter but I think it changes the space in which art is made to have such negative artist-audience interactions.
I’ve been struggling to read (we know, Mike, we know!) but I had a breakthrough over the weekend because I realised I had the sads and had a good cry (never underestimate their power! And also maybe I should just have joined a protest) that unclogged something that may just be my ability to enjoy reading. Shout out to When Aidan Became A Brother by Kyle Lukoff (illustrated by Kaylani Juanita) for the sweetness that gave me room to feel. I finished 3 other books over the weekend - Oksi by Mari Ahokoivu (translated by Silja-Maaria Aronpuro), Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker (read by Bahni Turpin & Janina Edwards) and The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina — Separating the Myth from the Medicine by Jennifer Gunter (read by the author) - while my body pulled a number on me (talking about you, anaemia!) and I’m glad I had the comfort of books.
I went for the roast of Sanaipei Tande last week and had a good time. It might have been why the creative juices flowed - I put out a new video yesterday and Gatwiri and I will be hosting a reading of 'Jambula Tree' by Monica Arac de Nyeko on 25th June (sign up here). I’m really excited for the reading because my birthday reading of ‘Tekayo’ by Grace Ogot was such good fun.
Lastly, the Women’s Prize winner will be announced this week Wednesday. The only one of the titles I’ve read is Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead and the one I hope to read soon (ideally this month for Read Caribbean month) is The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini though my goal is to work through all the titles by year’s end.
I’m excited for the reading my library loans promise these coming weeks (knocks on wood) and for all the bookish things I’ll soon be sharing with you. A bookish thing I didn’t make but which I’m excited about — podcast guest Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton (acclaimed author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev) started a podcast! I can’t wait for more episodes; they both have such great vibes. Also, this year’s #1000WordsOfSummer is in its second week and, while I haven’t written 1000 words together in ages, the newsletter entries have been a delight (see more here).
Enjoy the rest of the week and have a lovely time reading. Talk to you soon!