Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NewSouth Books authors definitely care about Katrina

A recent article in The New Republic made the argument that novelists have done little in writing about Hurricane Katrina. Maybe in TNR circles, but not in those of NewSouth Books, the acclaimed independent publisher based in Montgomery, Alabama [and publisher of my novel, Corina's Way].

Have a look at this post linked below to a new entry on NewSouth's blog:

One thing not mentioned is that Tony Dunbar's novel, Tubby Meets Katrina, was the first post-Katrina novel published, and remains a good read and a vivid reminder of those days during and after the storm.

I don't think there's a statute of limitations on when fiction can illuminate an event, or an era, or an idea--or anything. But the illuminations of Katrina are definitely in progress.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Keeping voudou validated

Check out Adam Nossiter's story in the NYT about a priest in Benin seeking to create validation of the ways and importance of the voudou religion. Link below:

This is an enduring issue for Western media, not to say the general public and the religious community. Coverage of the Haitian earthquake devastation has brought the Haitian practice of vodun a little more attention, but I think mostly it continues to view the religion as a cult practice at the fringes of respectability. This isn't many steps from the outright suppression of the religion that followed its importation under slavery into the Caribbean and the Americas. Today, in the U.S., where I have principally studied voudou (the New Orleans term), the religion remains at the fringes of acceptance and mostly is treated as a stereotype based on centuries of falsehoods. In American Voudou, I tried to bring the American practice to light as much as I could. I think the title character in Corina's Way also shows the strength and passion of the practice here. And I do believe there has been something of a revival of interest in voudou or orisha worship within these shores, but I can't say it's really make great inroads outside of limited communities or some segments of academia. But something is better than nothing.

I continue to hope that the orishas and their followers will be accorded the respect given any other religion, although it is a constant struggle to make inroads, even among those who seem to be willing to extend tolerance to other kinds of beliefs.

But the gods of Africa remain among us.