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Charis welcomes Tyriek White in conversation with Regina N. Bradley for a celebration of We Are a Haunting: A Novel, a poignant debut for readers of Jesmyn Ward and Jamel Brinkley, We Are a Haunting follows three generations of a working class family and their inherited ghosts: a story of hope and transformation.
In 1980’s Brooklyn, Key is enchanted with her world, glowing with her dreams. A charming and tender doula serving the Black women of her East New York neighborhood, she lives, like her mother, among the departed and learns to speak to and for them. Her untimely death leaves behind her mother Audrey, who is on the verge of losing the public housing apartment they once shared. Colly, Key’s grieving son, soon learns that he too has inherited this sacred gift and begins to slip into the liminal space between the living and the dead on his journey to self-realization.
In the present, an expulsion from school forces Colly across town where, feeling increasingly detached and disenchanted with the condition of his community, he begins to realize that he must, ultimately, be accountable to the place he is from. After college, having forged an understanding of friendship, kinship, community, and how to foster love in places where it seems impossible, Colly returns to East New York to work toward addressing structural neglect and the crumbling blocks of New York City public housing he was born to; discovering a collective path forward from the wreckages of the past. A supernatural family saga, a searing social critique, and a lyrical and potent account of displaced lives, We Are a Haunting unravels the threads connecting the past, present, and future, and depicts the palpable, breathing essence of the neglected corridors of a pulsing city with pathos and poise.
Tyriek Rashawn White is a writer, musician, and educator from Brooklyn, NY. He is currently the media director of Lampblack Literary Foundation, which seeks to provide mutual aid and various resources to Black writers across the diaspora. He has received fellowships from Callaloo Writing Workshop, New York State Writers Institute, and Key West Writers’ Workshop, among other honors. He holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Mississippi.
Regina N. Bradley is an award-winning writer and researcher of the Black American South. Dr. Bradley is an alumna Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow at Harvard University, Associate Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University, and a faculty editor for Southern Cultures journal. She is also the author of Chronicling Stankonia: the Rise of the Hip Hop South, Boondock Kollage: Stories from the Hip Hop South, and editor of An OutKast Reader.
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"An absolute triumph." —Michael Schaub, NPR
"Astonishing." —Kiese Laymon, MacArthur Fellow and author of Long Division
"What a beautiful, haunting and hued narrative of American living. I’m in love with this story." —Jacqueline Woodson, MacArthur Fellow and author of Another Brooklyn
This vibrant book pulses with the beats of a new American South, probing the ways music, literature, and film have remixed southern identities for a post-civil rights generation. For scholar and critic Regina N.
OutKast, the Atlanta-based hip-hop duo formed in 1992, is one of the most influential musical groups within American popular culture of the past twenty-five years.