Hanif Abdurraqib on Writing to Survive the World

March 24, 2021

At the Guardian, Hanif Abdurraqib discusses his new essay collection, A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, a celebration of Black culture through the lens of artists like Josephine Baker, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, and more. “People have an idea of what a writer is and how someone becomes a writer,” Abdurraqib says, “but you know, I was someone who struggled to not only understand the world but also struggled to fit into the world, and through those struggles often felt very on the outside. I used writing to get to the heart of why I felt that way. I do think that it is miraculous that I am here talking about something that I wrote because for so long writing was a way for me to survive, not in a financial sense, but to survive a world that I felt I was not made for.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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