Examining Home in Fiction by Women of Color: An Online Reading Group led by Regina A. Bernard Carreno
6/29, 7/6, 7/27, 8/17 Mondays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm June 29 to August 17, 2020
7-8:30pm ET / 4-5:30pm PT via Zoom
Since the publication of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, many women writers of color have explored immigration and migration, grappled with defining a sense of place, and have questioned what makes a home. In each of the selected readings, we will discuss the ideas of home, place, and the body through the work of Jamaica Kincaid, Angie Cruz, and Lola Shoneyin, as well as shorter readings by other celebrated writers of color.
Participants receive 10% off these titles at our online bookstore. Just add a note to your order and we’ll apply the discount before you’re charged!
Participants will receive access to these stories in their order confirmation emails.
“Remedies” by Kali Fajrdo-Anstine
“Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
Dr. Regina A. Bernard
Dr. Regina A. Bernard
Dr. Regina A. Bernard is a writer and Associate Professor of undergraduate Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College (CUNY), and a member of the doctoral faculty in Urban Education at the Graduate Center (CUNY). She has written three books on black and brown feminism, black studies, and Nuyorican Organic Intellectualism. She has also published articles for the Journal of Pan African Studies, Small Farms Quarterly, We Need Diverse Books Blog and elsewhere. Alongside her teaching and community work, she has also made a film about food as a vehicle through which to understand Caribbean culture and feminism. She is currently at work on several creative projects.
A Small Place
By Jamaica Kincaid
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
“If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him–why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen . . .”
So begins Jamaica Kincaid’s expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies where she grew up.
Lyrical, sardonic, and forthright by turns, in a Swiftian mode, A Small Place cannot help but amplify our vision of one small place and all that it signifies.
By Angie Cruz
Published by Flatiron Books
Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.
As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.
In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz’s Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.2 .
The Secret Lives of the Four Wives
By Lola Shoneyin
Published by HarperCollins
African-born poet Lola Shoneyin sheds a fascinating light on the little-known world of polygamy in modern-day Nigeria, in her powerful and thought-provoking debut novel, The Secret Lives of the Four Wives (previously titled The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives). Fans of The 19th Wife and HBO’s Big Love will be enthralled by this riveting tale of a prosperous African family thrown into turmoil when the patriarch adds a young, well-educated fourth wife into the mix who threatens to expose the other wives’ deepest, darkest secrets.
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