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Harvard Book Store welcomes KIM MCLARIN—Professor of Creative Writing and Graduate Program Director of the MFA in Popular Fiction at Emerson College—for a discussion of her new book Everyday Something Has Tried to Kill Me and Has Failed: Notes from Periracial America. She will be joined in conversation by MICHAEL P. JEFFRIES—author of Black and Queer on Campus.
About Everyday Something Has Tried to Kill Me and Has Failed
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.”
―from Lucille Clifton, “won’t you celebrate with me.”
“What does periracial mean? It’s a word I made up while casting about for a way to capture both the chronic nature of structural injustice and inequity of America and my own weariness. A way to label life under that particular tooth in the zipper of interlocking systems of oppression bell hooks called “imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy.” (What a lot to resist. No wonder we’re so tired!) To capture the endless cycle of progress and backlash which has shaped my one small life here in America during the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. To counter the idea―now largely abandoned but innocently believed for most of my adult life by white Americans on both ends of the political spectrum― that America has ever been post-racial. To suggest that I suspect, at this sad rate, we never will be.”―Kim McLarin, on the meaning of Periracial
With accumulated wisdom and sharp-eyed clarity, Everyday Something Has Tried to Kill Me And Has Failed addresses the joys and hardships of being an older Black woman in contemporary, “periracial” America. Award-winning author Kim McLarin utilizes deeply personal experiences to illuminate the pain and power of aging, Blackness and feminism, in the process capturing the endless cycle of progress and backlash that has long shaped race and gender.
Praise for Everyday Something Has Tried to Kill Me And Has Failed
“Everyday Something Has Tried to Kill Me And Has Failed is imbued with the same kind of unapologetic, raw and unflinching honesty as McLarin’s previous work, which makes it a welcome and timely read. McLarin wrangles boldly with topics such as aging and anti-Blackness, and in these essays I feel seen at a time when we—Black women approaching sixty and beyond—feel invisible, and/or seen in the worst possible light.” —Deesha Philyaw, author, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Story Prize, LA Times Book Prize, and finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction.
“The Black female body in peril, a gun purchased in response to the surge of white nationalism, the loss of racial innocence—the cumulative effect of these and the other essays in this provocative, exquisite collection confirms two things: there are prophets among us whom we ignore at our peril, and the spirit of Baldwin lives on. And for anyone familiar with McLarin’s work, you will find in Everyday Something Has Tried to Kill Me And Has Failed confirmation of this too: her assessments of America’s social landscape remain as powerful as the love she holds for her family, her friends, and her race.” —Jerald Walker, author, How To Make A Slave and Other Essays, finalist for the National Book Award in Non-Fiction
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