Novelist and memoirist Emily Raboteau will visit my class on Contemporary Literature of the Black Diaspora in fall 2013. This class explores black literature and culture from the Caribbean, United States, and Africa from 1962 to the present, with a special focus on how writers from this period relate both to the historical events of black diaspora (the scattering of people of African descent through the trans-Atlantic slave trade and subsequent migrations and immigrations), and the idea of diaspora as a way to describe modern black identity and community. Our class will culminate with reading Raboteau's memoir, Searching for Zion, a book which beautifully recounts the particular challenges of defining a geographic, cultural, or communal home in contemporary life.

--Prof. Sonya Posmentier (Engl-UA 254/SCA-UA 786 Contemporary Literature of the Black Diaspora)


Emily Raboteau is the author of a novel, The Professor’s Daughter (Henry Holt, Picador) and a work of creative nonfiction, Searching for Zion (Grove/Atlantic), named one of the “Best Books of 2013” by The Huffington Post and the grand prize winner of the New York Book Festival. She recently visited Antarctica to research her next novel, Endurance, about a shipbuilder and his autistic son. Her fiction and essays have been widely published and anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Non-required Reading, Tin House, The Oxford American, The Guardian, Guernica, The Believer and elsewhere. Honors include a Pushcart Prize, The Chicago Tribune’s Nelosn Algren Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation and the Howard Foundation. An avid world traveler, Raboteau resides in New York City and teaches creative writing in Harlem at City College, once known as “the poor man’s Harvard.”