search by author or title

Best African American Fiction 2010

Guest Editor, Nikki Giovanni


Gerald Early (View Bio)
Hardcover: Random House, 2010.

Best African American Fiction 2010

Bursting with energy and innovation, the second volume in the annual anthology collects the year's best short stories by African American authors. 
Dealing with all aspects of life, from the pain of war to the warmth of family, the superb tales in Best African American Fiction 2010 are a tribute to the stunning imaginations thriving in today's African American literary community. Chosen by this year's guest editor, the legendary Nikki Giovanni, these works delve into international politics and personal histories, the clash of armies and of generations—and come from such publications as The New Yorker, Harper's, The Kenyon Review, and Callaloo.

In "Ghosts," Edwidge Danticat portrays an aspiring radio talk show host in Bel Air—which some call the Baghdad of Haiti—who is brutally scapegoated, and in "Three Letters, One Song & a Refrain," Chris Abani gives a searing account of the violent life of a thirteen-year-old member of a Burmese hill tribe. Jeffery Renard Allen dramatizes the mysterious arrival in Harlem of a child's hated grandmother, and Wesley Brown fictionalizes the life of the great saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, with cameo appearances by Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, and other immortals. John Edgar Wideman contributes dense and textured "Microstories" that interweave everything from taboo sex acts to Richard Wright's last works to murder in a modern family. Desiree Cooper depicts a debutante from Atlanta moving to Detroit, "a city where there's no place to hide," while in "Been Meaning to Say," by Amina Gautier, a widower gets an unforgettable holiday visit from his resentful daughter.

From Africa to Philadelphia, from the era of segregation to the age of Obama, the times and places, people and events in Best African American Fiction 2010 reveal inconvenient truths through incomparable fiction.

"Series editor, culture critic and essayist Early and guest editor Giovanni, the noted poet and children's author (Hip Hop Speaks to Children), do an outstanding job of choosing important and stirring short stories and novel excerpts from outstanding authors for this second volume in the series. Ranging from historical to contemporary pieces that cover African and multicultural issues, the standouts are many: Maria Eliza Hamilton Abegunde's “The Ariran's Last Life,” the reflections of a former African slave; Desiree Cooper's tale of a pregnant Detroit wife who fears a terrifying “Night Coming”; Edwidge Danticat's inspired story “Ghosts,” which evokes life in Haiti; Glenville Lovell's “Out of Body,” about the brutal awakening of an undertaker's son; Jewell Parker Rhodes's African vampire-haunted “Yellow Moon,” a novel excerpt about Dr. Marie Levant, descendant of voodoo queen Marie Laveau; Colson Whitehead's wonderfully rueful BB gun memory, “The Gangsters”; and Dorothy Sterling's poignant YA novel excerpt, “Mary Jane.” The collection gives a glorious overview of black literature published in 2010 in a volume that's not to be missed." — Publishers Weekly

"Running the gamut from accessible crime fiction to experimental efforts by critics’ darlings, this ambitious anthology offers a snapshot of modern black culture without being tied to a single theme. Guest editor Giovanni mixes predictable big names with relative unknowns in the second installment of a new annual series…. A rich compilation, opening up territory for further exploration." — Kirkus Reviews

Up Back to Top