It’s time we use the “L” word: literary. It’s time to have conferences for black literary writers, and sections in bookstores called Black Literary Fiction & Non-Fiction; it’s time we have book fairs devoted to black literary books (or whole sections devoted to the genre), and bestseller lists comprised exclusively of literary books by black writers. It’s time to celebrate ambition. And if you’re wondering who gets to decide what literary writing is, well, that’s a conversation to have. Criteria can be debated. But first, we’ve got to call it out.
Only when you name a thing can you begin to claim it.
Birdgett M. Davis is an author and contributor to The Root.