Dreaming Out Loud brings together essays by many of the most
well-known and respected African American writers of the twentieth
and twenty-first centuries, discussing various aspects of the
vocation, craft, and art of writing fiction. Though many of the
writers included here are also accomplished poets, essayists, and
playwrights, this collection and the essays it contains remains
focused on the novel as a genre and an art form. Some essays
explore the challenges of being an African American writer in the
United States, broadly addressing aesthetic and racial prejudice in
American publishing and literature and its changing face over the
decades. Others are more specific and personal, recounting how the
authors came to be a reader and writer in a culture that did not
always encourage them to do so. Some are more general and focus on
practice and craft, while still other essays offer detailed
behind-the-scenes accounts of how famous novels, such as Native
Son, Invisible Man, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and The
Color Purple, came to life. Ranging from the Harlem Renaissance,
through the Civil Rights movement, and into the twenty-first
century, this anthology explores what it has meant to be an African
American novelist over the past hundred years. Found within are
essays by twenty-one African American novelists, including Nobel
Prize-winner Toni Morrison, National Book Award-winners Ralph
Ellison and Charles Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winners Alice Walker
and James Alan McPherson, and well-known canonical writers such as
W. E. B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Richard
Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, and Margaret Walker. Dreaming Out Loud
seeks to inspire writers and readers alike, while offering a
fascinating and important portrait of novelists at work in their
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