A personal, social, and intellectual self-portrait of the beloved and enormously influential late Randall Kenan, a master of both fiction and nonfiction.
irtuosic in his use of literary forms, nurtured and unbounded by his identities as a Black man, a gay man, an intellectual, and a Southerner, Randall Kenan was known for his groundbreaking fiction. Less visible were his extraordinary nonfiction essays, published as introductions to anthologies and in small journals, revealing countless facets of Kenan’s life and work.
Flying under the radar, these writings were his most personal and autobiographical: memories of the three women who raised him—a grandmother, a schoolteacher great-aunt, and the great-aunt’s best friend; recollections of his boyhood fear of snakes and his rapturous discoveries in books; sensual evocations of the land, seasons, and crops—the labor of tobacco picking and hog killing—of the eastern North Carolina lowlands where he grew up; and the food (oh the deliriously delectable Southern foods!) that sustained him. Here too is his intellectual coming of age; his passionate appreciations of kindred spirits as far-flung as Eartha Kitt, Gordon Parks, Ingmar Bergman, and James Baldwin. This powerful collection is a testament to a great mind, a great soul, and a great writer from whom readers will always wish to have more to read.
We’re giving away 5 copies of the book, courtesy of W.W. Norton.
*Literary Hub is collecting consent to send promotion emails on behalf of W. W. Norton & Company, which is located at 500 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York 10110. W. W. Norton & Company sends informational and promotional emails on behalf of itself. Subscribers can unsubscribe at any time.
For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.