Friday 14 September 2012

Attica Locke at Stratford Picturehouse

Attica Locke with Cilius Victor
 Last night's event at Stratford Picturehouse with Attica Locke, author the the excellent Black Water Rising, in conversation with my old friend Cilius Victor, was one of the most enjoyable  Newham Bookshop has organised: more a relaxed chat between old friends than a literary gathering. In fact, Attica has spoken in public with Cilius before, back in 2009 when she was largely unknown and just before she was short-listed for the Orange Prize.

Attica's new book is 'The Cutting Season' and is set in a former slave plantation in Louisiana, now an historical site and tourist destination. Last night we discovered it is based on a real place, Oak Alley Plantation, where Attica attended a wedding in 2004. Like her previous novel, her new book examines race in the US and how progress for middle-class African Americans, especially women, is dependent upon the support of others, At a wider level this overwhelmingly means Latino immigrants and there are deep parallels between a new layer of people who hold up an economy but do not have full citizenship rights, who are divided from their families and who in many cases are expected to 'know their place'.

Signed copies of The Cutting Season are available from Newham Bookshop - drop in and see if they have any copies left.

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