by Amanda Smera
Few things make me angrier than when people read something I’ve written and point out my talent. The intentions, of course, always come from a good place and they mean no harm. And yet the bitter taste in my mouth never fails to feel discrediting. I want to scream from the top of my lungs: “I’VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR A MONTH STRAIGHT, FOR YOU TO DARE AND ASSUME IT WAS JUST ‘MY TALENT’?!”
It feels like an outdated myth that talent is a bigger force, that either you’ve got it, or you don’t. I have hundreds of thousands of school essays, Harry Potter fan fictions, and journal entries that prove that I was no Jane Austen at the age of five or fifteen.
by Ariana Tucker
Go onto any major book-selling website and you’ll probably find a section dedicated to Black authors in the list of genres and subcategories. Amazon calls theirs “Amplify Black Voices” and lists it among other popular keywords like “Award Winners” and “Celebrity Picks.” Barnes and Noble calls theirs “Black Voices” and lists it among other browsing options such as “Large Print Books” and “Trend Shop.” Click on either link and you’ll see popular books written by Black authors, most of which are the same books we’ve been talking about for the last five years.
Barnes and Noble is the worst offender of this. On their featured page of “Fiction: Black Voices,” only four were published between 2020 and 2021 (Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle is their featured book from 2021). The rest are classics by Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison and books by authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Sister Souljah, which were published in the 2000s and 2010s. Amazon at least offers a more up-to-date list of recently released books by month and recommendations from editors and Black icons like Billy Porter and Rick Ross. You can find almost any genre and any subject here, the only difference is that the authors are all BIPOC.
by Angela Faustino
As someone who has dedicated her life to studying writing, I think a lot about what makes literature effective. There are the essentials of course, the rising and falling actions, a solid plot, conflict, a climax, and an end all resolution that concludes the story. I feel the most important thing that a story can give is a sense of other worldliness. When a piece is that good, it harnesses all of these elements, and leaves the reader with a sense of awe after its resolution.
As an avid gamer, and someone who enjoys watching playthroughs of games, I often wonder: Why aren’t video games considered valid pieces of literature?
by Dominick Marconi
There was this popular meme that recirculated in 2020 which featured a still frame from the Dreamworks animated film Madagascar. It showed the four main characters, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, Marty the Zebra, and Melman the Giraffe with puzzled expressions on their faces and overlaid text that read, simply: “Why are you black?”
Everytime I see it I laugh. Everytime I think about it I laugh. I cannot speak as to why anybody else might find it funny, but to me, the comedy not only stems from the absurdity of the question's nature, but in its truth.
by Erin Theresa Welsh
Publishing your own book is difficult. Actually, no, that doesn’t quite sum it up. Publishing your own book is stressful, time-consuming, and insanely difficult to achieve. Even if you get published, it is very unlikely you’ll become the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Most average authors don’t make more than a regular mid-level salaried office position, and that's almost never off book sales alone.
If an author wants to get published, it takes a lot of hard work to achieve that finished, beautifully bound piece of work. Not only does an author need to write and complete a lengthy piece of work, but they then need to choose how to publish it.