Time's Up

Here are the facts of the thing:


RingShout: a Place for Black Literature
kicks off its new reading series
and celebrates the 2010
 
Brooklyn Book Festival

Join us for an evening of readings by four acclaimed African-American writers.
 

Ta-Nehisi Coates,
 Tayari Jones, Jeffrey Renard Allen and Danielle Evans
 
DJ Sounds by Rob Fields

 

  Littlefield
622 Degraw Street (3rd and 4th Avenue)

 

Friday, September 10th 
  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Suggested donation: $5

I greatly look forward to this event because of my respect for ringShout, and their commitment to supporting literary fiction and nonfiction by African-Americans. It's work sorely needed, done by all too few. With respect to myself, it must be said that I have spent the last six weeks doing the work of fiction--a portion of which I look forward to presenting on this date.

I have long grappled with how to tell you this, or if I even should. But given that so many of you have been essential to my understanding of the second half of the American Revolution, I don't know how I hold this one back. I went to college to major in history, and eventually dropped out. No matter. Here The Atlantic, I have--by my lights--finished my degree. 

Whatever my problems with this community, it must be said that it was not a college seminar which introduced me to A Nation Under Our Feet--it was my readership. It must be said that it  was not my agent or editors who introduced me to David Blight---it was my readers. It was my readers who insisted I finish Edmund Morgan, that I go to Virginia and see the places for myself, not an institution. And finally, it was my commenters who urged me to fiction. Should that effort fail, I will live. Should it succeed, I will not bow before the sages--I will bow before the crowd. This crowd.

With such a debt in mind, it feels like false modesty to play coy about my absence. I have spent the last six weeks beginning the long work of examining questions best suited for imagination and empathy. I have yet to arrive at much in the way of answers--but I do have questions. The substance of these I hope to outline for you on the assigned date, at the assigned location, in a most strange tongue.

My request is a simple one: Brooklyn, Stand Up.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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