Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ayana Mathis Tonight

Here's an interview in the Times Union:

Q: Your first book was chosen for Oprah's Book Club. What has that done in terms of sales and also any pressure you may feel about your next book?
A: Certainly, the book has reached more folks than it would have otherwise. We make distinctions, which are both useful and harmful, about fiction, and sometimes readers are intimidated by classifications like literary fiction. I think we also have a tendency to label books — as an African-American story or Latino story or gay story, etc. — which results in readers thinking that perhaps a book won't resonate with them, because of whatever differences they perceive between their lives and the characters' lives. This isn't true, of course. Literature reaches across all of those kinds of false barriers.
The Oprah book club's greatest strength is that it makes a great variety of books accessible to people who may not otherwise have found them or been attracted to them. It's as though she's walking the books she chooses into living rooms and book clubs across the country, and people are a bit more willing to take a chance on them. Of course, that translates into sales, but I think the real boon has more to do with readers finding their way to books that are meaningful to them.

More:  http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Tribal-initiation-5022008.php

More about Mathis's visit today to UAlbany:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html#ayana