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Percival Everett

Jan 17, 2022

The Trees

A Novel

Graywolf Press 2021

If there is such a thing as the American literary canon, then Percival Everett (The Trees, 2021) is at the center of it. The author of over 30 novels, books of poetry and short fiction, and children’s literature, for over thirty years Everett has been one of the great innovators of fictional forms. In our interview, we discuss how a novel about the history and present of racial violence, from the beginnings of lynching during reconstruction to the present day killing of unarmed black men and women by police officers, means something different in the Trump Era. We open up the question of whether or not literary arts are capable of being catalysts to the kinds of change that other movements have failed to enact. And Everett talks about the importance of an adapting and growing archive of the names of those killed in lynchings or extrajudicial killings, a list of names that he himself has attempted to write down as an act of remembering.

Books Recommended in this episode:

Percival’s Gallery Show to accompany The Trees

Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.

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Chris Holmes

Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.

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