November 10, 2008

Malorie Blackman at The Guardian

"I hate being labelled," she says today, ensconced in the chic café at the top of Waterstone's Piccadilly, where she's requested hot water to mix with the cold remedy she's determinedly sipping on. "Through my whole writing career it seems people have always been criticising me for not tackling racism. But things like even having black characters on covers when I first started was a bit of a political statement, because I've had more than one bookseller say to me 'that book would sell better if you didn't put black people on the cover'."

Malorie Blackman is interviewed by Allison Flood at the Guardian about her book, Noughts and Crosses, which can perhaps be described kind of like Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes (the sociology classroom experiment) meets Romeo and Juliet. The Crosses have all the power and influence, and are brown; the Noughts have nothing, and aren't. An interesting series, and a fascinating interview with an author who didn't really want to write about racism, because, since she is black, it was kind of...expected.


Alkelda the Gleeful said...

On the flip-side, Sherman Alexie asked if he was ever going to write a book that didn't focus on Native Americans, and he retorted that no one ever asked William Faulkner if he was going to write a book that didn't focus on Southerners.

I've now requested Noughts and Crosses from my library. Thanks for writing about it.

a. fortis said...

Ooh! Sounds interesting. I'll have to look for it.

It's strange to be a person of mixed and ambiguous background, because you don't really get asked those questions in the same way. I was always hoping to have a really rousing discussion about that in the Narratives of Mixed Race class I took at Mills, but...alas, no. But to me, it brings up the (ridiculous but still very much imbued in our consciousness) idea of the one-drop rule as the determinant of identity. But if you have a lot of drops of a lot of stuff...then what?

Charlotte said...

I bought a copy of this for my library, with some of our Friends fundraising money. And no-one has checked it out. I blame the cover, which adds not at all to the casual glancer's understanding of what the book is about.

So if anyone needs a copy, there's one in RI looking for a reader...