Ravi will be a featured presenter at the Kimbilio/SMU Litfest Reading on October 15th. Save the date!
The Burden of History: an Interview with Ravi Howard
“Growing up in Montgomery, I heard stories about the Civil Rights Movement from people who never became famous. That experience had an impact on my storytelling.”
I met novelist Ravi Howard at last year’s Callaloo conference, held in Atlanta, then again at the Minneapolis AWP conference this spring, where Ravi kindly gave me a copy of his second novel, Driving the King.
Driving the King opens in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1945. Rising star and favorite son Nat King Cole returns for a rare hometown performance. Cole begins the show with a number helping an old friend propose to his gal, but is immediately attacked onstage by a half-dozen white men. Before they can do any serious damage to Cole, that old friend—returning soldier, Nathaniel Weary—leaps from the balcony to rescue him, pummeling one of Cole’s attackers. After the fracas, Weary gets ten years in prison, losing his girl and his sense of self. But he doesn’t lose his old friend: as Weary’s release nears, Cole sends an emissary to offer him a job as his driver and bodyguard out in Los Angeles, where Cole—by 1955, one of the world’s biggest-selling pop stars—is about to be the first African-American to host his own national television show.
Read the rest of the rest of the intro and the interview here: