Our Living Literary Treasures

January 16, 2011  |  

7) Danzy Senna: Novelist

Best known for: “Caucasia,” “Symptomatic”

Why we love her: Her debut novel, 1998’s “Caucasia,” took a heartbreaking, yet sweet look at the lives of two biracial sisters who came of age during the turbulent 1970’s. The book explores the challenges of multi-ethnic identity, without succumbing to the trite ‘tragic mullata’ stereotype. Senna, herself the child of a black father and Irish mother, revisits the multiracial theme in 2003’s “Symptomatic,” a thriller about a young mixed woman who is often mistaken for white.

Notable quotable: “It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere.”

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  • Diva

    There are other authors that you have forgotten about. The "old standards" are great, however please look to the other voices of literary fiction. These women are writing about love, loss and everything in between and it's not Urban Fiction. They are never are mention because we always fall back on Walker, Cooper, Angelou, Mcmillan, Morrison, and Smith.

    Please open your eyes and the eyes of your readers by locating them. These authors also deserve their spotlight.

    **Some of these ladies are also New York Time best-selling authors, won several literary awards, and have over 30 or 40 books in print.

    Thanks

  • Neilah

    Great post ! However you guys could have found a better picture of Ntozake Shange! Sheesh! Give the woman the respect she's owed! *SMH*

  • Kristine

    I LOVED this article! Thank you! Toni Morrison has to be my favorite because she allows the reader to become a part of each character.

  • Ari

    This was an interesting post to read, I hadn't heard of Danzy Senza so thank you for pointing her out to me! Caucasia sounds like a fabulous novel.

  • MissAj

    What about Sonia Sanchez?

  • Danielle

    How about Nikki Giovani

  • Can

    I'm surprised (and a bit disappointed) that you didn't include Octavia Butler—as I learned about her from this website. And in literary terms she i one of the few African American Women Sci-Fi writers. I enjoyed both Fledgling and Kindred from Ms. Butler.

    • Ari

      Maybe they didn't include her because she's no longer living? I still need to read Kindred!

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