“Ms. Danquah has indeed shaken a literary tree. The fruit that fell down will nourish readers for a long time and probably the best thing that I can say, and I realize the most selfish, is ‘At last, a number of older black women writers can stop holding their breath and exhale.” –Maya Angelou
Showcasing the newest generation of black women writers, including ZZ Packer, Edwidge Danticat, and Shay Youngblood, Shaking the Tree gathers twenty-three voices that came of age in the wake of the civil rights, black arts, gay rights, and feminist movements. Their literature embodies the tragedies and triumphs of contemporary black women in their struggle to negotiate a sense of individual identity beyond the limited scope of gender and race.
Shaking the Tree offers a panorama of both fiction and memoir, revealing perspectives as diverse as they are dynamic: asha bandele recounts how she fell in love with a prisoner charged with murder; Rebecca Walker explores a childhood split between disparate racial and cultural landscapes; ZZ Packer remembers her near-abduction from summer camp at a time when local black children were being found murdered; Danzy Senna and Carolyn Ferrell tell tales about being young and biracial in a society that sees only in black and white.
This anthology is as urgent as it is historical―these voices are the future of American literature.
“Not since Breaking Ice has an anthology so freed the spirits of African American women.”―Ai
“Intimate, personal . . . [Shaking the Tree] is filled with stories of black women trying to find their way in a world unknown to their parents . . . children of black power, Fat Albert, and the Reagan and Bush presidencies.”–USA Today
“Danquah has a keen ear and eye for not just the complexity but the sheer cacophony of expression that echoes the experience of being black and female in America at the close of the 20th century.” –Ms. Magazine
“[Shaking the Tree] features a stellar lineup . . . women who were weaned on the works of legendary Black women writers, and now are defining a new era of American literature.”–Ebony Magazine
“Danquah has conjured up a potent anthology of uniquely diverse voices, delivered entirely from the soul.” –Black Issues Book Review