Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Remarkable Receptions, and Black Book History

Ta-Nehisi Coates has had an extraordinary publishing career over the last 5 years in particular. In 2014, he published "The Case for Reparations." In 2015, it was Between the World and Me. In 2016, Black Panther. In 2017, he published his articles as a book in We Were Eight Years in Power. In 2018, he took on writing duties for Captain America. And later this year, he'll publish his first novel, The Water Dancer.

Rarely in the history of African American writing has a figure produced so much work that has been so widely and actively covered. We've had many prolific writers, but the receptions that have followed Coates's works are quite remarkable. The reception is tied to the quality of his works, yes, but also his productivity and ability to move across a few different modes of writing have facilitated the many responses to his works.

I've written about the remarkable receptions before, but it still doesn't feel like enough. I plan to keep documenting and developing the writing to highlight the significance of this moment. More so than only highlighting Coates, I want to figure out what has led so many people -- supporters and detractors -- to converge on this one writer. And, I want to to discuss the implications and consequences.

In the meantime, it's definitely worth citing Coates and his reception in the context of Black Book History in the contemporary era.

Black Book History, February 2019
A notebook on the work of Ta-Nehisi Coates

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