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Never-before-seen unpublished works by award-winning American literary icon Ntozake Shange, featuring essays, plays, and poems from the archives of the seminal Black feminist writer who stands alongside giants like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, curated by National Book Award winner Imani Perry with a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Tarana Burke.
In the late ’60s, Ntozake Shange was a student at Barnard College discovering her budding talent as a writer, publishing in her school’s literary journal, and finding her unique voice. By the time she left us in 2018, Shange had scorched blazing trails across countless pages and stages, redefining genre and form as we know them, each verse, dance, and song a love letter to Black women and girls, and the community at large.
Sing a Black Girl’s Song is a new posthumous collection of Shange’s unpublished poems, essays, and plays from throughout the life of the seminal Black feminist writer. In these pages we meet young Shange, learn the moments that inspired for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf…, travel with an eclectic family of musicians, sit on “The Couch” opposite Shange’s therapist, and discover plays written after for colored girls’ international success. Sing a Black Girl’s Song houses, in their original form, the literary rebel’s politically charged verses from the Black Arts Movement era alongside her signature tender rhythm and cadence that capture the minutia and nuance of Black life. Sing a Black Girl’s Song is the continuation of a literary tradition that has bolstered generations of writers and a long-lasting gift from one of the fiercest and most highly celebrated artists of our time.
Ntozake Shange, author of thirty-six published works, is increasingly recognized as one of America’s greatest writers having, for fifty years, embodied the struggle of women of color for equality and the recognition of their contribution to human culture. Shange’s literary legacy, preserved in the Shange Institute at Barnard College, comprises thirteen plays, seven novels, six children’s books and nineteen poetry collections, the majority of which are published and in print. Her 1974 “choreo-poem,” for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow Is enuf, retains its status as the longest-running play by an African American writer in Broadway history. The 2022 Broadway revival of for colored girls garnered seven TONY Award nominations. She has been posthumously inducted into both the NY State Writers and the Off-Broadway Alliance Halls of Fame, cementing her legacy as one of the most cherished Black feminist writers of our time.
Imani Perry (Editor) is the Carol K. Pforzheimer professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute and professor of African American studies and women and gender studies at Harvard University. She is the author of seven books, including South to America, winner of the 2022 National Book Award. She is a recipient of the Lambda Literary Award and the Hurston Wright Award, and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award, among others. She has written for The New York Times; TheAtlantic; Harpers; O, the Oprah Magazine; New York Magazine; and The Paris Review. Perry earned her PhD in American studies from Harvard University, a JD from Harvard Law School, an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, and a BA from Yale College in literature and American studies.
Tarana J. Burke (Foreword), for more than 25 years as activist, advocate, and author, has worked at the intersection of sexual violence and racial justice. Fueled by commitments to interrupt sexual violence and other systemic inequalities disproportionately impacting marginalized people, particularly Black women and girls, Tarana has created and led various campaigns focused on increasing access to resources and support for impacted communities, including the ‘me too.’ Movement, which has galvanized millions of survivors and allies around the world, and the me too. International nonprofit organization, founded in 2018. Her New York Times bestselling books You Are Your Best Thing and Unbound have illuminated the power of healing, vulnerability, and storytelling in the movement to end sexual violence.
[H] Legacy Lit / September 12, 2023
1.51" H x 9.25" L x 6.43" W (1.53 lbs) 496 pages