Bernice L. McFadden

Literary Birthday – 26 September – Bernice L. McFadden

Happy Birthday, Bernice L. McFadden, born 26 September 1965.


  1. I write to breath life back into memory to remind African-Americans of our rich and textured history. I also see myself as a ‘root’, and for me the ‘fierce winds’ include the marginalisation-the downright segregation-of literature written by people of colour.
  2. Writing kept her sane. Kept her form spinning out of control. Kept her tongue still whenever some white person spoke down to her. She had to write, it was the only thing that was completely hers, that she could look forward to at the end of her long day.
  3. I write and research at the same time… I’ll read things I that I find inspiring… I read a lot of poetry. I like lyrical passages. I spend a lot of time walking because a lot of the writing goes on in my head before I put it on paper. Today I walked so far I didn’t know where the hell I was. It’s a lot of research, a lot of reading and a lot of walking.
  4. At the beginning of my writing process I feel like I have people coming to visit. Like one or two people. When I am really engrossed in the writing my house is full… All I’m doing is recording what I hear. As I get close to the end my house starts to empty out. It feels melancholy and lonely without the characters‘ voices.
  5. The first sentence. It’s always tough getting started. Even though I’ve been doing this for eighteen years when I sit down to start a new project I’m a novice again. I’m unsure.
  6. People feel that rejection is a horrible thing. Rejection can be life sustaining if you look at it as fuel for the fire. You should think, ‘I’ll show you.’ It’s your dream and you should have it. Your time will come… Learn, acquire the skill. Your time will come.

Bernice L. McFadden is an award-winning American novelist. She is the author of The Book of Harlan (winner of the 2017 American Book Award and the 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.) She has written other critically acclaimed novels including Sugar, Loving Donovan, and Gathering of Waters. Praise Song for the Butterflies is her latest novel. She has also written romance novels as Geneva Holliday.

Source for image

Queenazsa, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Source for quotes 3-6

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 26th September 2019