292 posts categorized "Biography and Memoir" Feed

By Christian Coleman | Rainbow season is in full, fierce bloom, honeys! Take to the streets with your most fabulous fans and clack them with pride! Clack them to reflect, empower, and unite for queerness in all its joys and liberation! Clack back to the haters intimidated by queerness! Because this is your month. They all are, really. Read more →


By Remica Bingham-Risher | When I asked Forrest Hamer to autograph his books, I had never seen anyone so upset about such a small mistake. We were at the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop where he was teaching and, like all the other students there, I became enamored with his work and unassuming nature, wanting nothing more than to spend the last few nights surveying his words. As he signed his books, he misspelled my name, and when I crossed out one letter for another, he apologized to no end. He held me there, despite the line forming behind us, repeating, “I’m so, so sorry about that. Names are important. Please let me take care of things.” Read more →


By Christian Coleman | This Sunday, it’s dad’s turn to be given his flowers—or tie or power tool or gift card. You get the idea. Our flowers come in the form of books, some of which are written by fathers. Books for the daddies and zaddies on their muscle-bound journey. For the House fathers taking the rejected queer kids under their wing. For the feminist dads who don’t want to go the way of the Kens in “Barbie.” For the fathers living from hustle to hustle to keep a roof over their loved ones’ heads. Read more →


A Q&A with Jonathan Rigsby | By the time I sat down to write “Drive,” I’d had to put a lot of thought into where I wanted to focus my energy. Working, parenting, and driving were taking up the majority of my time, and I had to choose how to spend the very small amount of free time I had. I’m very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive partner. When I decided to get serious about writing a book, she was with me every step of the way. Read more →


By Christian Coleman | “How do you teach a kindergartener about the histories and contemporary legacies of race and racism in a way that affirms her humanity and agency?” Dr. OiYan Poon poses herself this question in the introduction of “Asian American Is Not a Color: Conversations on Race, Affirmative Action, and Family” after her three-year-old daughter Té Té broaches the topic of race. An answer to her question could be found by turning to this year’s theme for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Read more →


By Alana Lopez | One of the first ideas taught in my Literature of the Harlem Renaissance course last semester at Boston University was the concept of Harlem as a haven. In Claude McKay’s “Home to Harlem,” it was, as its name suggests, a motivating factor for its main character, like that of Ithaca for Odysseus. It was a hub of inventive and unorthodox expressions of self as shown by Louis Armstrong’s jazz or Gladys Bentley’s blues. For Rudolph Fisher, Harlem’s culture is familiar and, though often written off as a fad, rich with history and ultimately timeless in “The Caucasian Storms Harlem.” To James Baldwin, it is home and birthplace as well and, much like him, I’ve come to find that “home” and “haven” are vastly different things. Read more →


A Q&A with Amy Caldwell and Perpetua Charles | I’d worked with Ra Page, Atef Abu Saif’s editor at Comma Press in the UK, on a previous book, The Drone Eats with Me, which chronicled Abu Saif’s experiences on the ground in Gaza during the 2012 Israeli incursion. And then last fall, after the post-Oct 7 Israeli campaign and invasion of Gaza began, Ra reached out. I didn’t know Atef had been visiting Gaza on October 7, and it was, of course, distressing to hear. Read more →


By Mei Su Bailey | This year, Beacon Press is taking part in the nationwide celebration of James Baldwin’s hundredth birthday with the release of the James Baldwin Centennial Series! Originally published in “Notes of a Native Son,” these essay collections commemorate Baldwin’s legacy as an artist, an activist, a social critic, and a gifted writer. Read more →


A Q&A with Jaclyn Moyer | I wasn’t intending to write about the history of the organic farming movement when I started this project, but as I began to uncover my family’s past, I discovered that the origins of the organic movement, the development of modern wheat, and my own personal history intersected. And all three were bound up with colonialism. Read more →


By Shenequa Golding | I get why so many Black women are divorcing themselves from the “strong Black woman” trope. The world measures our strength by how much deliberate mistreatment and neglect we accept. We’re expected to pour ourselves into others so much that it’s positioned as an “honor” to die empty. Black women deserve so much more than to live as everyone else's mule and then go to our graves depleted. Read more →


By Nancy Rubin Stuart | Who can predict the afterlife of a book? Marketing committees, like the one at Beacon Press, try to assess that before deciding to buy a manuscript. In contrast, authors often write books because we are excited about our subjects and want to share them with others. Naturally, we want to attract a wide readership, but given the large number of books published each year, we rarely expect our books to remain popular beyond the first few years of publication. Read more →


A Q&A with Yashica Dutt | The research process for the book was fairly typical. I spent a ton of time in libraries and archives, extracting material around the historical details that have gone into shaping this book. I was most surprised to learn how different those details were from the narrative of history that we have been given for decades. Read more →


By Christian Coleman | Remember when Janelle Monáe said Black women aren’t a monolith? Same goes for the Black diaspora, and yet the Grammys love plugging their ears and going La la la la laaaaa. This year, they did Black artists dirty yet again, snubbing them in the award for Album of the Year. Jay-Z is far from the first to call out their snubbery at the ceremony. They’ve also been called out for confining Black artist nominations in the rap/hip hop and R&B categories. Read more →


By Christian Coleman | Some are new, some are veteran crew. These are a handful of Beacon’s bestsellers of 2023! Let’s raise a glass of bubbly to the authors and to another year of bestsellers! Which ones were your favorites? Read more →


By Christian Coleman | When loved ones perch at the table together for holiday gatherings, it’s not just the star protein with fixings that gets served. Whether it’s on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other occasion for feel-good feasting in big company, those mashed potatoes and greens come with a side of divergent viewpoints on touchy, real-life subjects. Sometimes they’re served respectfully, sometimes with vitriol, but on many occasions, they stir up tough conversations, and the meals become so ideologically fraught that digestion seems out of the question. Read more →


By Christian Coleman | When Latinx workers across the US came together for International Workers’ Day on May 1, 2006, their strike sent more than one message. As historian Paul Ortiz writes in An African American and Latinx History of the United States, they protested immigration restrictions that threatened their families, their livelihoods, and their dignity. The protested to pass national legislation for a living wage. Shutting down meat packing, garment manufacturing, port transportation, trucking and food services in many parts of the country was an act of resistance to neoliberalism, mass incarceration, militarism, and imperialism. Latinx workers from numerous cultures were all in. Read more →


A Q&A with Amanda Montei | I’ll say that in both creative and academic circles, the subject of motherhood is often seen as niche and unserious, and personal struggles with caregiving and domestic work are as well. I’ve experienced some pretty outright sexism over the years, but also so many subtle dismissals of my work and my intellect as a mother writing about motherhood, or even just “women’s issues.” Alongside the very real struggle of securing affordable childcare. Read more →


By Christian Coleman | We took the crushing news pretty hard. The TV adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s “Kindred” didn’t get a fair chance when it was cancelled nearly a month and half after all eight episodes were uploaded in December 2022 to stream on Hulu. With the blessing of Butler’s estate, playwright and showrunner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins made bold choices—some of which might make Butler purists gasp—to modernize and expand upon Butler’s classic while staying true to her message. Read more →


By Eva Saulitis | Morning. Late June. Daytime breeze already ruffling the passage. While doing calisthenics on the beach, Olga spotted three blows threading upward in rapid succession against Gage Island, across the passage. Humpbacks. Some days, a particular quality of light, wind, and humidity made spouts stand out. Ralph, Mary, and I loaded up Whale 1. Since Elli was still sleeping, Olga stayed behind at camp. A few moments after departing, I spotted smaller, fuller blows off Squire Point. “Stop!” I yelled. The three of us stared through binoculars until the whales surfaced again—three orcas slinking close to shore, heading toward camp. Read more →


By Kristen Joiner | “So, you’ve been a feminist and worked in human rights your whole career?” Judy Heumann asked me the first time we met to discuss the possibility of writing her memoir. “Right.” “And you never knew disability was a civil rights issue?” Since I’d already owned up to this, I nodded again. “So, what makes you think you can write my story?” Read more →