Daily Archives for: February 26th, 2017

Dorothy West’s The Wedding: A Miniseries (1998)

The Wedding, a two-part miniseries that premiered on television in 1998, speaks to the intersecting issues of race, gender, and class in mid-1950s America. Based on Dorothy West‘s 1995 novel The Wedding, it starred Halle Berry, Eric Thal and Lynn Whitfield. The book was adapted into a screenplay by Lisa Jones and produced by Oprah Winfrey’s company, Harpo Productions.

The setting of Martha’s Vineyard shows an aspect of the privilege available to the main character, Shelby Coles. Played by Halle Berry, Shelby is a mixed race young woman from an upper-middle class home, about to marry Meade Hall (played by Eric Thal), a white jazz pianist and composer. Read More→


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How can a writer improve her craft?

Dear Literary Ladies,
What advice would you give a writer wanting to improve her craft? I read so many books on writing, and every one of them offers different techniques. Also, how long can I expect to work at this until I see results?

Each person’s method is no rule for another. Each must work in [her] own way, and the only drill needed is to keep writing and profit from criticism. Mind grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and use short words, and express as briefly as you can your meaning. Young people use too many adjectives and try to “write fine.” The strongest, simplest words are best, and no foreign ones if it can be helped … Read More→


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The Wedding by Dorothy West (1995)

Dorothy West (1907 – 1998) was the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance movement that was in full swing in 1920s New York City. She was quite young in its heyday, and became known for short stories. Her first novel, The Living is Easy, didn’t appear until 1948; then there was a gap of some forty-seven years until her last novel, The Wedding, was published in 1995.

Dorothy West was part of the circle of upper-class black residents of Martha’s Vineyard, having lived there since 1943. She drew from her background to create this slim yet impactful novel. One of her neighbors was Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who pressed her to finish this book. Read More→


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No Time, Privacy, or Self-Discipline: Blasting Through Writing Excuses

Too much to do and too little time, no room of one’s own, and no willpower to simply sit down and write—those are the Big Three of “why I’m not writing” excuses. Those obstacles were as true for women writers in earlier generations as they are for today’s writers, if perhaps even more valid and not just excuses to dawdle.

Sure, you’re busy, but you may feel less overwhelmed when you learn that Harriet Beecher Stowe (at right) had seven children, and was in charge of all the household duties, aside from being responsible for bringing in at least half of its income. Not to mention some of the crushing losses she endured. Read More→


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