Jamel Brinkley Spends His Time Rereading Incredible Prose


Share post:

Jamel Brinkley’s Witness: Stories is now available from FSG, so we asked him a few questions about his writing practice, his favorite books, and more.

What time of day do you write?

A day can get away from you with alarming speed and ease, so if possible I try to write in the mornings when I tend to have more energy and sharpness, and before the reality of my to-do list (cleaning, laundry, groceries, email, etc.) sets in.

What was the first book you fell in love with?

The first book I fell in love with as a high school student was Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I probably didn’t really understand it, but I kept reading it over and over, and I absolutely sensed that from the very beginning, in the prologue, it was a tremendous assertion of artistic freedom.

Which books do you reread?

Currently, I’m in the habit of rereading The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard and Angels by Denis Johnson. Transit has this tremendous scale and a startling capacity to shift between the intimate and the grand, as well as an intricate architecture. Angels doesn’t feel architectural in nearly the same way, but the strange impulses and movements of the book are really appealing. Both books offer incredible prose. Generally, the fiction I find myself rereading includes Morrison’s Sula, Edward P. Jones’s two short story collections, and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.

What book has elicited the most intense emotional reaction from you?

One book that comes to mind is Corregidora by Gayl Jones. It’s so haunting and layered and rhythmic, and its ambiguities make it only more powerful.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you do instead?

Teaching, which I love, predates my serious writing life by years and years. I’ve taught middle school students, high school students, college students, and now graduate students. I’ve also been a tutor and an academic counselor. I can’t imagine I’d do anything but teach.


Jamel Brinkley’s Witness: Stories is available from FSG.

Source link

Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lamber is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes about arts, entertainment, lifestyle, and home news. Nicole has been a journalist for years and loves to write about what's going on in the world.

Recent posts

Related articles

Lit Hub Daily: September 27, 2023

“Without the First Folio we would have lost a world of words.” On the two heroic friends...

From Serialization to Novelization: On the First Iteration of Frank Herbert’s Dune

If anyone has ever told you Dune is a “tough read,” it would be interesting to see...

Listen to a Future Fable from Regina Kanyu Wang: “A Day of Snaky”

A new volume of succinct yet stirring stories arrives with the second season of Future Fables. Exploring...

The new off-Broadway play Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors is silly, not-scary fun.

September 26, 2023, 12:39pm Gordan Greenberg and Steve Rosen’s new play Dracula: a Comedy of Terrors, now open...

Exclusive: See the cover for Dorothy Chan’s Return of the Chinese Femme.

September 26, 2023, 10:00am Literary Hub is pleased to reveal the cover for Dorothy Chan’s fifth collection of...

Lit Hub Daily: September 26, 2023

The Best of the Literary Internet, Every Day ...

Check out the 27 new books out today!

September 26, 2023, 6:00am September may be drawing to a close, but if you’ve somehow made it through...

“To Be A Writer, You Must Write:” How Joan Didion Became Joan Didion

Joan Didion looks straight at the camera, with her fist curled in front of her mouth—as if...