Literary Twitterati: 15 Black Writers to Follow on Twitter
From Terry McMillan to Colson Whitehead, the Twitterverse is filled with the musings of black writers.
Terry McMillanGetty Images
McMillan, best-selling author of Waiting to Exhale, writes down-to-earth, sage -- bordering on mother love -- tweets. After reading her Twitter stream, you leave feeling as if you've just spent the day at the barbershop or hair salon, talking about everything from money and relationships to bad politics and pop-culture phenomena that don't make any damn sense.
Recent tweet: "I hate when movies don't make any sense and everybody thinks they're smart because they don't make any damn sense."
Captions by Abdul Ali
Mark Anthony NealCourtesy of Tulane University
Cultural critic Neal, the author of New Black Man, tweets about the latest trends in black culture, music and news. To follow is to be connected to all of the latest conversations on pop culture as it relates to feminism, new trends in music and interesting links to other like-minded writers, scholars and music critics.
Recent tweet: "New site 'Hey Little Brother' http://bit.ly/fUVodt Black America writes letters to our Black Boys aged 12-14 -- 40 letters thus far."
Joan MorganCourtesy of Blog Talk Radio
Pioneering hop-hop journalist Morgan is the author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost. Having just returned to grad school, Morgan tweets heavily on what she tags "gradgrind." For all her intellect, Morgan always manages to keep a sense of humor about things -- take her Twitter name, for example: "milfinainteasy."
Recent tweet: "My Mom is my greatest inspiration, feminist n otherwise. She went back to school at 40 to get a nursing degree. Working 2 jobs n w 3 kids."
Colson WhiteheadGetty Images
Celebrated novelist and essayist Whitehead is the author of the recent novel Sag Harbor. Colson's tweets are snarky but not mean-spirited ... OK, the jury is still out of the latter, but if you like this sort of humor, Whitehead is your guy.
Recent tweet: "I like it when you finally decide to unfollow someone annoying & then you see they unfollowed you some time in the past. Everybody wins!"
Isabel WilkersonGetty Images
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wilkerson is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns. Wilkerson tweets mostly about the positive reception to her book. In the Twitterverse, Wilkerson comes off as extremely humble. (Note to Isabel: You're the first black woman to win a Pulitzer for journalism. You've got skills. Run with it!)
Recent tweet: "Grateful and over the moon about the Nat'l Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction! Many thanks to everyone for all the good wishes!"
Mat JohnsonCourtesy of Chronogram Magazine
Award-winning novelist Johnson may well be the funniest man on Twitter. He's the author of the recent Pym: A Novel. If we do a list of the funniest people on Twitter, Johnson will definitely give a lot of people a run for their money.
Recent tweet: "If you never tell any parent 'Goddamn that's an ugly baby' then how will the parents of cute babies trust your compliments?"
Martha SouthgateGetty Images
Southgate, author of the recent novel Third Girl From the Left, put the white literary establishment on notice with her provocative op-ed in the New York Times Book Review back in '07. Her tweets range from what she's reading to showing support to her colleagues on their new projects.
Tayari JonesCourtesy of the Vona Organization
Jones, one of the busiest storytellers around, tweets about anything from pop culture to what's happening with her latest projects. Her third novel, Silver Sparrow, will debut in May. To stay updated on the film adaptation of her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, you can follow @LeavingATLmovie.
Recent tweet: "My time line is divided between those celebrating Bey and Jay's anniversary and those marking MLKs death."
Ta-Nehisi CoatesCourtesy of the New Black Man
Coates' tweets are a smorgasbord, with everything from pop culture and news updates to idiosyncratic quotes about art. His recent book is a memoir, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.
Recent tweet: " 'If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art.' --Arnold Schoenberg #elitismftw."
Jabari AsimGetty Images
Asim, an accomplished journalist and editor, is the author of the recent short-story collection A Taste of Honey: Stories. Jabari's tweets a series called blacklitchat revolving around his muses and what he likes to read.
Recent tweet: "I've always been fascinated with the civil-rights era, especially its impact on non-famous, ordinary folk. #blacklitchat."
Danielle EvansCourtesy of Harper's Bazaar
Evans is a celebrated short-fiction writer. She is the author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, a collection of short stories. (Don't you just love that title?) Her tweets tend to be random but are always smart and entertaining at the same time.
Recent tweet: "Is usually vexed by loud music on buses, but it's kind of endearing how seriously dude is taking his Nate Dogg tribute #regulate."
Jelani CobbCourtesy of American Exception
Historian Cobb is a college professor, cultural critic and political scientist. His recent book, The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, documents President Obama's election. Cobb's tweets are anything but stuffy and professorial; they're satirical, witty -- and they have swag.
Farai ChideyaCourtesy of Afropop Magazine
With three nonfiction books under her belt, Chideya made her fiction debut in 2009 with her novel, Kiss the Sky. Chideya tweets heavily on media and its treatment of race, but she also gives a nice dose of humor to complement the heavy stuff.
Recent tweet: "There is a huge cat-cophony outside of my window. Sometimes a mewling, other times a brawling or orgiastic myaaaaahs. They're feral; I weary."
Dolen Perkins-ValdezGetty Images
Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times best-selling author of the novel Wench. Her tweets are peppered with her book recommendations, shout-outs to her favorite writer-friends and thoughtful critiques on what it means to be a black writer.
Recent tweet: "Dear fellow writers: When I hear people complain about the plethora of urban fiction, I think: perhaps black writers aren't reaching higher bc we get smacked down."
Lynn NottageCourtesy of the Unicorn Theater
Award-winning playwright Nottage is a recent addition to Twitter. She won the 2009 Pulitzer for drama for her play Ruined. Nottage's tweets document the minute details of dress rehearsals, play readings and one-line reviews of movies.
Recent tweet: "A shout-out to RUINED family in D.C. I hear you're doing amazing work."