>Obviously all eyes are turned toward Katrina, the relief efforts and the criticism of said efforts. It’s unbelievable that we are watching refugees and this type of rescue effort in the U.S. Usually we’re sending help somewhere else. And so many of us needing the help. There are lots of Black folks writing about what’s going on and I’ll link to some of the commentary here.

Also want to talk about relief efforts by authors. A few weeks ago a bunch of authors set up auctions to benefit one of their own who lost everything in a fire. A similar effort, www.romaid.net, has sprung up to benefit Larissa Ione, a romance writer from Mississippi.

So knowing that New Orleans has a high percentage of African Americans and is a place where the African culture has had such a major influence, I’m curious about how Black writers are faring after the disaster and about efforts by other writers to reach out in some way. Send an email about any relief efforts you’re involved in or have heard about. Also, who are the novelists who live in New Orleans and other affected areas? Seems like it would be a nice gesture to go out and buy their books right about now, in addition to making donations to help all kinds of people affected by the tragedy.

Tayari Jones has set up a little program of her own. If you donate to the relief fund, she will send you a signed copy of one of her books. Go to her site to get details on how to do this.

Anybody else?

Other notes
Lots of recent author interviews on Ed Gordon’s NPR show, including:
Christopher John Farley talking about Kingston by Starlight
John Ridley on Barbershop, the TV show
A wonderful piece by Roy Hurst on Helen Oyeyemi (The Icarus Girl)
Pearl Cleage giving a tour of Spelman College

Check out Poets & Writers’ September Issue. There’s an amazing photograph of James Baldwin on the cover.

Toni Morrison spoke at the University of Miami (Florida) this week. Read about it here.

Marilynn Griffith (whose novel Made of Honor is due first of the year), posted today about a deal for Claudia Burney. Here’s the text from Marilynn’s blog:

One of my dear friends and favorite bloggers, Claudia Burney, has just signed a three-book contract with the new NavPress fiction line! The series, The Bell Brown Mysteries, is one of the best I’ve seen in quite some time and I wish you all could read it right now. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until next summer. The first book is A FLING AND A PRAYER, the second is titled ALL THAT’S JAZZ, after Jazz Brown, the hunky police detective love interest and the third title is BETWEEN ROCKY AND A HARD PLACE, after Bell’s cool and cute Emergent pastor who loves Jesus…and Bell.

For any of you who know Claudia as the Ragamuffin Diva, you know how gifted a writer she is. If you don’t know, you soon will find out…

Yeah. It’s like that. 🙂

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