A Year in Reading: Kevin Young

December 6, 2017 | 3 books mentioned

coverAfter finishing research for my book Bunk, which took up most of my reading over the past several years, two of my favorite books I read for fun this year include the biography Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, which brings the poet to life as well as her struggles, and Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?, the great collection of stories and “interiors” by filmmaker and writer Kathleen Collins. Collins was a pioneering black woman film director who died at the age of 46; these stories were uncovered by her daughter and published last year. The fact that Collins’s archives now reside at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where I serve as director, reminds me how powerful it is to see work in its original, manuscript form. Archives are also the raw stuff of a biography like Bishop’s, for which Megan Marshall did groundbreaking research. Both these books make us rethink these women writers and restore them to the center of our cultural conversation.

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is the author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, a New York Times Notable book that was longlisted for the National Book Award, and a previous book of nonfiction The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, a New York Times Notable Book that won the PEN Open Book Award and was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He is the author of 10 books of poetry, including Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995–2015, which was longlisted for the National Book Award. Young is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the poetry editor of The New Yorker.

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