Randall Kenan

Literary Birthday – 12 March – Randall Kenan

Randall Kenan was born 12 March 1963 and died 28 August 2020.


  1. I had always written. First, I wrote bad poetry and then horror stories and science fiction. My main ambition was to be a SF writer in the vein of Arthur C. Clarke and Issac Asimov. In high school, I actually wrote a couple of dreadful and highly derivative novels, now thankfully lost to the ravages of time. In college, I decided it might be wise actually to study writing for a while — that changed everything for me. (via)
  2. If the idea of writing as a healing medium were really true a lot of emotionally damaged writers would be better people — and I include myself in that number. We never get over the things we never get over. We can only learn from them — but that has next to nothing to do with writing, in the end. Writing is writing and life is life, and we shouldn’t ask either to do what they aren’t equipped to do. (via)
  3. I believe that we write about, and out of, our obsessions, the things that haunt our souls, things we never get over. (via)
  4. We human beings actually only have a few stories that we tell over and over again: there is the story of being an outsider, or having your world invaded; there is the story of achieving some success against great odds, or having something special and losing it; and there is the story of malice towards a brother or a mother or a father or anyone. We mix these stories up, and we turn them around and inside out—but we’re all obsessed with the fundamental elements. One of my teachers always said, ‘The great themes are given to us: Love, Death and Pain.’ (via)

Randall Kenan wass an American author. His work focused on what it means to be black and gay in the southern United States. His works included Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, named a New York Times Notable Book in 1992, A Visitation of Spirits, and The Fire This Time. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the John Dos Passos Award, and was the 1997 Rome Prize winner from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Source for screenshot

 by Amanda Patterson

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