Remembering Gloria Naylor

Remembering Gloria Naylor

We have learned of the passing of one of the leading lights in the African American literary community. Gloria Naylor inspired generations of writers, including many of our Kimbilio Fellows. Celebrate her life by grabbing your favorite Gloria Naylor novel from the shelf and remembering all she taught us. confirmed her passing and published a remembrance on their website:

Gloria Naylor, a writer known for illuminating the stories of Black women, died of a heart attack on September 28 in the Virgin Islands, her sister, Bernice Harrison, confirmed to EBONY.

According to Harrison, Naylor had been sick for some time and had a weak heart, but her family was not aware of the extent of her illness. Naylor suffered a coronary last Wednesday morning, but medical officials were unable to revive her.

“She was a wonderful person, very generous, kind, and thoughtful,” Harrison said via phone on Monday. “And she will be greatly be missed.”

Naylor, who was a novelist and artist, is best known for her award-winning book The Women of Brewster Place. Published in 1982, the novel went on earn Naylor the National Book Award the following year. In 1989, it was adapted for the screen and made into a miniseries by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.

Read more at EBONY Remembering Gloria Naylor


Rion Amilcar Scott (’13) on the Recurring Characters of Edward P. Jones

Rion Amilcar Scott (’13) on the Recurring Characters of Edward P. Jones

When a Character Returns

Edward P. Jones connected recurring characters through his short stories, providing a blueprint for one writer.
From Catapult

Lost in the City,

All Aunt Hagar’s Children


Read the rest of the post here: Rion on Edward P. Jones

Rion Amilcar Scott (’13) in Electronic Lit

Rion Amilcar Scott (’13) in Electronic Lit

202 Checkmates

by Rion Amilcar Scott

(from the collection Insurrections)

In my eleventh year, my father taught me defeat.

I sat with my back pressed on that old, scratchy brown couch. Tom chased Jerry across the television screen and then the image dissolved into a white dot in the center. I turned to see my father holding the remote control in one hand and a crumpled cloth cradled in the crook of his other arm.

What are you doing with that rag, Daddy? I asked.

It’s not a rag, girl, he said. It’s a mat.

He unfurled the dirty checkered mat onto the coffee table and dropped a handful of chipped and faded black chess pieces in front of me. He started setting up the white ones without looking at me. I tilted my head, watching my father curiously.


Read the full story here: 202 Checkmates

Victor LaValle on “A Lucky Man” by Jamel Brinkley (’14)

Victor LaValle on “A Lucky Man” by Jamel Brinkley (’14)


I tell you this longish anecdote as a way to prepare you for what I see as the magic in Jamel Brinkley’s stories. These stories deal in large-scale deceit and betrayal, there are painful things at work in this fiction, but much like the scene I described above, Jamel Brinkley regularly finds ways to pierce through the dramatic and find the subtle and humane lurking within.

Read the full post here: Victor LaValle on “A Lucky Man”

Kimbilio in honored to count Victor as a friend and advisor.

Friends of Kimbilio: Get $6 off a subscription to A Public Space by using code KIMBILIO at checkout. As a subscriber, you’ll receive three issues in the mail, as well as complete access to the online archives, where you can read two stories by Jamel Brinkley as well as ten years of fact, fiction, art, and argument. Subscribe today:

Julia Brown (’13) Interview Andrea Lee for GULF COAST

Julia Brown (’13) Interview Andrea Lee for GULF COAST

(Note: KIMBILIO thanks Julia for her ongoing service to our community.  Since 2014, she has graciously volunteered to prepare manuscript material for our retreat.)

Andrea Lee writes the kind of dazzling, lyrical prose that delights with its boldness—over three acclaimed novels, a New York Times Notable short story collection, and many essays and articles in publications like Time,The New Yorker, and Vogue, she explores matters of race, class, and culture with an erudition that is as playful as it is sophisticated. It was an honor and a pleasure to talk with her about her life and work, and collect some additional thoughts on her essay Notes for a Speech Never Given (The Nile Swim Club),” which appears in Gulf Coast 28.2.

Julia Brown: Where in the world are you right now? What’s on your mind these days? What’s absorbing your attention?

Andrea Lee: I have just spent a month of work and play in Bangkok, Thailand, but where I am right now is in my house in Turin, Italy. It’s a 600-year-old villa in the country, and from my window I can see woods, a field with cows, the city in the distance, and the French Alps beyond that.

Read the rest here: Interview with Andrea Lee