Today is one of those where my personal background and professional work converge in a special and satisfying way. Pearl Cleage, bestselling novelist and one of America’s most popular playwrights, has a new book on the market, a memoir, and I am the lucky editor who acquired it for Atria Books.
This is her first nonfiction since Mad at Miles and our first time working together in book publishing. We’ve crossed paths on the road of life many times over the year since we first met in Atlanta in the 1970s. I was a student at Clark College. She–you’ll read in the memoir–was working to make history by making Maynard Jackson the first African American mayor of a major Southern city.
We were both active members in a community of artists, activist and cultural workers. She was my big sister in poetry and all things writing. She read her work on Clark College radio, where I was a student who also read my poetry on the air from time to time. She founded a literary magazine, Catalyst, and published an autobiographical essay I wrote.
We share many beloved friends and organizations, as well as a love for Atlanta that is apparent in how she portrays the city in her work. As an editor, she’s been on my wish list of authors to work with for years, long before her debut published novel, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day became an Oprah Pick. All I can is that in the fullness of time, great things happen like working with a long time sisterfriend at the top of her field on a profound and inspiring work of literature. Work and people who nourish your spirit. There’s nothing better.
April 8, 2014