“Black women writers and critics are acting on the old adage that one must speak for oneself if one wishes to be heard.” —Claudia Tate, from the introduction
Long out of print, Black Women Writers at Work is a vital contribution to Black literature in the 20th century.
Through candid interviews with Maya Angelou, Toni Cade Bambara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alexis De Veaux, Nikki Giovanni, Kristin Hunter, Gayl Jones, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Sonia Sanchez, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, Margret Walker, and Sherley Anne Williams, the book highlights the practices and critical linkages between the work and lived experiences of Black women writers whose work laid the foundation for many who have come after.
Responding to questions about why and for whom they write, and how they perceive their responsibility to their work, to others, and to society, the featured playwrights, poets, novelists, and essayists provide a window into the connections between their lives and their art.
Finally available for a new generation, this classic work has an urgent message for readers and writers today.
”This is a gorgeous and essential collection of writings from a group of the most important Black women writers. I have turned to repeatedly over the past thirty years and I'm thrilled that Haymarket has republished it for another generation to treasure.”
—Imani Perry, author, Looking for Lorraine
”[A] rare, rich source books for writers, readers, teachers, students—all who care about literature and the creation of it... This collection transcends its genre. It becomes a harbinger book, a book of revelation, of haunting challenge, opening on to central concerns not only of writing, but of life, of living, today.”
—Tillie Olson, from the Foreword
“Tate’s probing, provocative and insightful questions set a new standard for the interview as a genre.”
—Valerie Smith, Princeton University