Best Novels about Slavery From Both Sides

What do I mean, “slavery from both sides”?  In America, slavery–that “peculiar institution”–was not only a crime perpetrated against a large group of people over hundreds of years, it was also a crime committed by another group of people.  In a very real way it was–and is–two sides of a single horrific coin.  Both sides, whites and African-Americans, must come to a reckoning…

Read More Read More

Who Gets to Write What

Few would question that we’ve entered an era of unprecedented cultural fragmentation.   People can no longer agree on the most fundamental things: what is good or bad, right or wrong, true or false.  Writers, too, have felt the effects of this trend.  As a professor of English and a novelist, I’ve spent the better part of my life advocating for…

Read More Read More

Why Do People Put Up Roadside Memorials?

Recently during an interview about Resting Places, I was asked about the phenomena of roadside memorials—those crosses that have been endemic along our roads and highways, marking the spot where a loved one died violently. In my novel the main character Elizabeth goes on a cross-country journey where she stops at many of these memorials. The question the interviewer asked,…

Read More Read More

Writing About Race in America, a beginner’s primer

With this year’s presidential race, much is being said and argued and bantered about concerning another race: that is, race as cultural and ethnic distinction. As a writer who has written extensively about race (in my novel Soul Catcher), I often cringe at our candidates’ discussion (or lack thereof) of the subject of race in America. I was recently reminded…

Read More Read More