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Urban Fiction: Keeping It Real

Fiction has its advantages over reality, especially for people who don’t get to take the 9 to 5 route. In his famous essay, “The Soul of Black Folk”, WEB Dubois spoke of a “veil” which separates the African American community from the outside world. People of color who live in the megalopolis often have lives replete with danger, and their journeys involve a subtext:

Drama is danger mixed with opportunity.

By extension, many faithful readers might be unaware of experience grounded in inner-city life. Urban fiction is the most-requested and much-loved literary genre at King Library, creating a significant new audience for books. It has registered impressive national sales ($$$$ millions), catching the attention of the publishing industry. Previously sold as typewritten photocopies on street corners, these stories now appear in slick paperback. The tone is usually dark, focusing on urban variations of an underside, with occasional explicit sex and violence. The chatter may include George Carlin’s seven dirty words, and the plots are in your face—nothing gets watered down. Check out one of these page turnas:

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Sister Souljah The Coldest Winter Ever
The mother of street lit, Sister Souljah (aka Lisa Williamson) sold this novel out of the trunk of her car. After the novel found a major publisher as a result of the buzz it created, it was praised by the The New Yorker. Vibe Magazine recently reported that Jada Pinkett Smith is executive-producer of a film-in-development based on this book. Check catalog for availability.


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Vickie Stringer Dirty Red
Having tricked her boyfriend into believing she is pregnant, eighteen-year-old Red enjoys his lavish attentions until she becomes pregnant for real by an ex-boyfriend who is in jail, a situation that leads her into home ownership and a successful new career. By the author of Imagine This and founder of Triple Crown Publications. Check catalog for availability.


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Street Love: A Triple Crown Anthology
A sampler pack of urban fiction by African American authors featuring themes like sacrifice, race, survival, and the importance of family. The fifth story, “Allure of the Game", is so beautifully executed it feels like a play-by-play done in real time. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Jane @ Martin Luther King Library


Comments (1)

G Long :

Good review Jane! Urban Fiction is most definitely popular.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 7, 2008 9:21 AM.

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