WATCH: Raven Leilani in Conversation with Pandora Sykes at the Hay Festival
The Debut Novelist Discusses Her New Book, Luster
The Hay Festival launches its 34th spring edition, broadcasting for free online from Hay-on-Wye to the world 26 May–6 June. Over 12 days, more than 200 acclaimed writers, global policy makers, historians, poets, pioneers and innovators join together to inspire, examine, and entertain in events for all ages. All events are closed-captioned and available to watch for free on the Hay Player.
Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, sleeping with the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her—painting. No one seems to care that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage, and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscape of sexual and racial politics as a young, black woman wasn’t already hard enough, with nowhere else left to go, Edie finds herself falling headfirst into Eric’s home and family.
Raven Leilani’s debut, Luster, is painfully funny and razor-sharp about what it means to be young now. Here, she talks with Pandora Sykes, Contributing Editor at ELLE magazine and author of How Do We Know We Are Doing It Right?