The Conversation: Book Talk with Dr. Keith Clark

The Conversation is an open discussion series hosted by African American Studies Program at George Mason University. It provides a platform for authors and scholars in the DMV to discuss pressing their research in relation to issues at the intersections of race, peace, and justice.  In this episode, Dr. Keith Clark and Dr. Monifa Love were featured to celebrate Keith Clark’s book Navigating the Fiction  of Ernest J Gains, A Roadmap for Readers.  

This book talk was headlined by Dr. Keith Clark in conversation with Dr. Monifa Love, facilitated by Dr. LaNitra Berger. 

Dr. Monifa Love is a professor in the department of language literature and cultural studies and associate dean of the college of arts and sciences at Boise State University. She earned her doctorate from Florida State University, where she studied as a McKnight doctoral fellow and as an associate of the great philosopher and oppression theorist William our Jones. Dr. Love has participated in summer fellowships in African cinema in Dakar Senegal and Black poetry after the Black arts movement with the University of Kansas history of Black writing project. Dr. Love is the author of two collections of poetry provisions published in 1999 and Dreaming Underground published in 2003. Which was a Naomi Lee Long Magic Award winner. She coauthored two Fine Arts catalogs about life and work. 

Dr. Keith Clark is currently a professor of English and African and African American studies at George Mason University. He earned his B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1985 and a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993. Keith Clark is the author of Black Manhood in James Baldwin, Ernest J. Gaines, and August Wilson and The Radical Fiction of Ann Petry, and the editor of Contemporary Black Men’s Fiction and Drama. He is a professor of English and African and African American studies at George Mason University, focusing on African American fiction and drama, black literary masculinity studies, and African American LGBT literature and criticism. 

Throughout the book talk, they discuss Dr. Clark's inspiration to author his novel as well as the road that led to writing it. After a brief introduction, they discussed the huge impact/ contribution that African American writers from the South have to literature. 

Within their discussion, they go into detail about Anne Peachtree, an African American writer from Connecticut, from the old state of brook Connecticut. She was the first African American woman to write a novel and sell a million copies on the street in 1946. Dr. Clark later speaks about how he went to Boston University where the papers of her research were placed. He was shocked by how important her work was, yet she was still neglected. He felt that this was a transformative experience, therefore he decided to change direction in his writing to write about her. 

The talk ended with Dr. Clark discussing his favorite Gaines novel and why?