She tells us that an executive once told her while flipping through the pages of a script, “There are too many words in here.” So maybe she was destined to be a novelist.
Attica Locke was born in 1974, when Black households like her parents' were transitioning into the Reagan '80s. It was the Cosby era, when some families decided that if politics couldn’t completely free a race of people, then surely economic prosperity would. It’s the setting of her novel Black Water Rising.
In 2009, she described that time to NPR’s Steve Inskeep from a boat launch in Houston, Texas --
I think the book in some ways was my attempt to understand the people who raised me, people who were transitioning out of, you know, this kind of heady political activism into the Reagan '80s. I was born in that trans - to me my whole life is the transition from a segregated America to an integrated America.
You can hear the rest of the NPR story over here.
Locke discusses and reads from Black Water Rising tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. More info here.