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Black History Month: Black Authors On Power Of Reading And Writing

Posted: 02/23/11 08:45 AM ET

I knew I wanted to interview a diverse and celebrated group of African Americans writers because they have been so important to the vitality of American literature. I think the common thread for all of the authors interviewed in the book, including myself, is that reading became a safe and valued place for us as children where we discovered possibilities. Writing became a map we used to find our way and our dreams realized in the world. In many ways the stories the writers share about the power of reading and writing in their lives is a story of how both acts became a bridge that they crossed into a wider world and a broader sense of themselves and what they could do. I hope you will be inspired by their stories as well.

The following quotes are reprinted from the book "THE WORD: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing" Edited by Marita Golden. Copyright © 2011 by Marita Golden. Published by Broadway Paperbacks, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

Marita Golden
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My marriage has become a prison. I am seriously considering divorce and find myself reading Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert's ode to illusion, fleeting romance, marriage, and adultery. Because I love life much more than the novel's heroine Emma Bovary does, and I have a child to live for, unlike Emma, there will be no suicidal exit from my dilemma. Still, Emma Bovary knows more about me at this moment than any one else. She alone knows the perimeters of the tomb my life has become. In this, my darkest hour, this fictional character is my best friend.
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