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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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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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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
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A tale of a dying man’s birthday, unapologetic in its Mexican-ness

As a writer, Luis Alberto Urrea is both prolific and versatile, with 16 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The son of an American mother and a Mexican father, he grew up part of a sprawling family that encompasses multiple nations and languages — a background that may have contributed to his seemingly effortless flexibility as a storyteller.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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1962 Orly plane crash inspires novel

Hannah Pittard can’t remember when she first heard about the 1962 plane crash at Orly Field. The disaster, which killed 106 Atlantans on a chartered art tour to France, serves as the starting point for Pittard’s fourth novel, “Visible Empire,” which goes on to trace the grief and loss that rippled through a city just beginning to grapple with its own history.
Atlanta Journal Constitution Link to Story
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Talking with Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins’s first book, “This Will Be My Undoing,” is an essay collection that ranges from intimate stories about childhood, religion, and sexuality to broader cultural criticism on topics of race, gender, politics, and power. When asked whether she always knew the book would be so energetic and ambitious, the 25-year-old author said, “Yes!
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Skiffle strikes a chord with author Billy Bragg

Best known as a musician with a notably political bent, Billy Bragg is also a talented writer. In 2007 he published “The Progressive Patriot: A Search for Belonging,” in 2016 “A Lover Sings: Selected Lyrics,’’ and now comes “Roots, Radicals, and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World,” a deeply researched yet lively look at the musical craze that hit England in the mid-1950s.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Sherman Alexie on his new memoir, his mother and Donald Trump

Sherman Alexie keeps running into his mother on book tour, catching glimpses of the woman at the center of his new memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.”. He sees her in the quilt decorating his hotel in Boston, a vivid reminder of her artistry and industry. And then there are the sirens that keep going off when Alexie’s giving a reading, just at the moments the author finds himself getting emotional.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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The deep roots of “white trash” in America: “Not only are we not a post-racial society, we are certainly not a post-class society”

Salon talks to Nancy Isenberg about America's history of race, class, eugenics and the myth of social mobility. Nancy Isenberg’s book “White Trash” begins by looking at the characters in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”. Both the book and the movie play with the divide between Atticus Finch, who is saintly and proper, and the poor white family, the Ewells, whose daughter’s false rape accusation is at the story’s center, as an example that there are two kinds of white people in the South.
Salon.com Link to Story
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Story Behind the Book: ZZ Packer on Race, History, and Girl Scouts

“It’s difficult, sometimes, to describe the process of writing a story,” said ZZ Packer. “Stuff comes to you as you’re writing, you’re kind of carried away on a tide of what you’re fascinated by.”. Packer’s short story “Brownies,” first published in Harper’s Magazine, then included in her debut collection, “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” (2003), is the first selection of a pilot program in which the entire graduate writing community at Lesley University will read and discuss the same story.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Roberto Gonzales on ‘Lives in Limbo’

Before attending graduate school to train as a sociologist, Roberto Gonzales worked for a decade as a youth organizer in a largely immigrant neighborhood in Chicago. “Living and working in that community, I got to know kids and families really well,” Gonzales said. He began to notice that some kids, once they hit 15 or 16, “when their friends started getting driver’s licenses, first jobs, thinking about college — this is a time when many of them had really uncomfortable conversations with their parents.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Would Raven-Symoné Have a Beef With "Apple"?

“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea,” said former child star Raven-Symoné on daytime TV’s The View earlier this month. “It’s just not going to happen. I’m not going to hire you.”. The women of The View were discussing a video of the “60 most ghetto names” that was making the social media rounds as such things do (me, I probably was watching these baby goats cavorting in pajamas and missed the thing entirely, which I’d rather link to than the stupid “ghetto name” video).
DAME Magazine 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.