Showing posts from March, 2021

Guest Seminar with Dagmawi Woubshet

  Thursday 15th April  |  5:30-7:00pm BST  | Zoom  For this session, we’re very excited to be joined by a special guest speaker – Professor Dagmawi Woubshet! He is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published work on James Baldwin, and taught a module at the University centred on his work. He will be chairing our next meeting, and has selected Little Man Little Man: A Story of Childhood (1976) as the focus of our discussion.  A lesser-known and discussed text, Little Man Little Man is Baldwin’s only children’s book. According to his niece Aisha Karefa-Smart, Baldwin was motivated to write a book that ‘dealt with the realities of black childhood’. The story follows TJ, a four-year-old boy, as he navigates the streets of Harlem with his friends, WT and Blinky. Along the way, he encounters various characters that live in the neighbourhood. Initially met with mixed reviews and then out-of-print for roughly four decades, the book has now been republ

Everybody's Protest Novel

Thursday 11 th March | 5:30-7pm GMT | Zoom   In this session we will consider the protest novel as a genre, beginning with Baldwin’s thoughts from his essay ‘Everybody’s Protest Novel’ , published in Notes of a Native Son in 1955. In this essay, he examines the flaws in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin , arguing that it adopts an overly simplistic view of complex racial issues. He then goes on to argue that this is also true of Richard Wright’s novel Native Son . This essay, along with another essay in that same collection (‘Many Thousands Gone’) were partly responsible for a rift between Baldwin and Wright which continued until Wright’s death.   Alongside ‘Everybody’s Protest Novel’, we will then read an essay by Richard Wright, ‘How Bigger Was Born’ , which looks at the motivations behind his writing of Native Son . We will consider whether Baldwin’s comments on the novel seem justified in light of this, and what a successful protest novel might look like.   Th