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Kate Tuttle

Writer & Critic

Kate Tuttle

Writing on books and authors, race and politics, family and childhood.

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Robin DiAngelo Wants White People to Confront Their Racism

In her 20 years’ training and educating diverse groups of people on the issues of race and social justice, Robin DiAngelo has seen it all: denial, defensiveness, and rivers of white tears. For Parlour, I spoke with DiAngelo about her new book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, and how well-meaning white parents are among the most invested in pretending not to understand racism.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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Writing stories that move like poems

Maryse Meijer’s debut was a short story collection. For her second book, the Chicago author experimented with new forms. “I really was tired of struggling with the connective tissue that you always have to pay attention to when you’re writing fiction,” Meijer said. “I was reading a lot of poetry, and I just admired how easily they could just cut to the idea or image or feeling that was the most potent.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Exploring the dark mystery of suicide

Joan Wickersham’s book “The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death In Order” was published in 2008. Not much has changed in the intervening decade. “It’s amazing to me that that came out 10 years ago,” Wickersham said. “I keep reading stories about suicide — and there have been a couple of very high-profile suicides in the past year — and it seems like each time the reaction is a kind of bafflement and this attempt to figure out why.”.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Raised by white parents, a Korean adoptee wrestles with identity

Growing up with her adoptive white parents in a very white town in southern Oregon, Nicole Chung “kept a secret running tally of every single Asian person I had ever seen in public.” There were so few, and her isolation so internalized, that even as a bookish little girl the stories she wrote didn’t include Asian characters.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Talking with Rebecca Traister about Angry Women

As a journalist, Rebecca Traister is always hoping her books are timely. Her first, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” came out in 2010, soon after the bruising 2008 Democratic primary season she chronicled in its pages. Her second, “All the Single Ladies,” arrived in 2016, a celebration of women’s power at a time the country seemed poised to elect its first female president.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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Making sense of American poverty and her own life

“America didn’t talk about class when I was growing up,” writes Sarah Smarsh. Born to a teenage mother in the summer of 1980, she was a poor child in Kansas, a state that went big that fall for Reagan’s gauzy vision of morning in America, even as the farm economy that had once supported its people began to crumble.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Anne Tyler’s Latest Heroine Quits Cushy Arizona for Quirky Baltimore

In 1986, Anne Tyler wrote an appreciation in this newspaper of one of her favorite childhood books, “The Little House,” by Virginia Lee Burton. The book was a gift, she wrote, one she received in 1945 on her fourth birthday and has kept ever since. It tells the story of a house, built in the countryside but eventually engulfed by a burgeoning city, then moved, years later, to a new place in the country.
The New York Times Link to Story
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Emory professor examines how school desegregation went wrong

For decades the story of school desegregation has been told as a heroic narrative starring NAACP lawyers and brave African-American students, in which the Supreme Court victory in Brown v. Board of Education marked the beginning of a new era of equality for black and white schoolchildren. In a new book, Emory Professor Vanessa Siddle Walker introduces readers to previously little-known actors in the drama: the Southern black educators who worked, often in secret, to help African-American students and their families both before and after Brown.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Link to Story
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Why a certain slur hasn’t gone away

The journalist Allison Yarrow remembers seeing an online quiz that surprised her. It invited users to learn “Which ’90s Bitch Are You?”. At the time, she was surprised — “I hadn’t really thought of the ’90s as returning for reassessment or nostalgic treatment” — but it sparked the idea for her new book.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Researching his own life

As long as he’s been writing fiction, Alexander Chee has also produced essays. The author of two novels, “Edinburgh” in 2001, and 2016’s “The Queen of the Night,” this spring Chee published his first nonfiction book, titled “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.”. The book began with an invitation.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Nigerian couple wrestles with infertility, political upheaval

Ayòbámi Adébáyò started working on “Stay With Me” in 2011. “I began with initially what I felt was a short story,” she said, of a married couple having their last fight before finally separating. “I felt that story was done, but I just felt there was something just beneath the surface that I was not able to access yet.” It took five years, and “at least seven” rewrites before the Nigerian author was ready to release her first novel.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Black athletes and political minefields

For sports writer Howard Bryant, the current political tension between black athletes protesting police violence and a white president quick to label them unpatriotic for doing so is nothing new. For the past century, black athletes from Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson to Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James have shared an often difficult duty to represent their race in a culture that values black bodies over black brains.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

About

Kate Tuttle

I'm currently serving as President of the National Book Critics Circle. My reviews and articles about books have appeared in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, Atlantic.com, and elsewhere. Native Kansan, longtime Cantabrigian, lately of Georgia, now in New Jersey. Mother, wife, pal.

Feel free to email me at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.