Paule Marshall, Groundbreaking Novelist
I write a post for this blog almost every week. How on earth do I come up with topics to write about? That’s a question I often ask myself (sometimes with a sense of mild panic.) If you’ve been reading these posts, you already know that they are pretty random. It’s really whatever pops into my mind as interesting in a given week. Publishing something on one of the sites I write for regularly (stageandcinema.com and Literary Ladies Guide) makes things easier. This week, I wrote an essay I’ve been meaning to write for a few months now, and here’s how it happened.
Through my daughter-in-law, who attended college with him, I came in contact with Dr. Warren R. Harding, a scholar of Caribbean women’s literature. I was intrigued by the topic—I felt that this was a group of writers that did not have a terribly high profile in the United States, at least. I pitched the idea to the editor of Literary Ladies Guide and she was enthusiastic, with the caveat that per the requirements of her site, the writers all had to be dead. He graciously agreed to be interviewed. During our highly informative conversation, he mentioned Paule Marshall. I didn’t even know she had died in 2019, but as soon as he mentioned her name, I recalled reading a number of her novels some decades earlier. Then he told me that she had been a protégé of the great Langston Hughes, a writer of whom I have a special interest (my grandson is named after him). I decided then that I wanted to delve more into her work, and when other commitments eased up, I read her memoir Triangular Road, an essay and a couple of short stories, and refreshed my memory of her novels. The essay linked here is the result: