Callaloo invites papers for a special issue devoted to the life and work of the late poet, fiction writer, playwright, and scholar, Sherley Anne Williams, guest edited by Wendy W. Walters (Emerson College).
Sherley Anne Williams was a talented author/scholar, publishing in many genres. Her novel, Dessa Rose,preceded Toni Morrison’s Beloved by one year and has been read as an inaugural example of the neo-slave narrative genre. Her short fiction is anthologized in multiple collections. Williams’ first book of poetry, The Peacock Poems (Wesleyan 1975), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Her second poetry book, Some One Sweet Angel Chile (William Morrow 1982) was also nominated for a National Book Award, and she received an Emmy Award for a televised performance of these poems. Her prose poem, “Letters from a New England Negro,” published in Iowa Review, became a one-woman drama, which was performed at several important theatre festivals. A theatrical version of Williams’s novel, Dessa Rose, was performed as an off-Broadway musical in 2005. She also published two children’s books in the 1990s.Working Cotton received both a Caldecott Award and a Coretta Scott King Book Award. Her second children’s book, Girls Together, was published in 1999.
As Mae Henderson wrote in her memorial tribute in Callaloo, “her achievements betoken the legacy this generation will pass on to its survivors. Our community is a poorer place without Sherley Anne Williams; our inheritance, a richer one because of her song:
These is old blues
and I sing em like any woman do.
These is old blues
and I sing em, sing em, sing em. Just like any woman do.
My life ain’t done yet
Naw. My song ain’t through.”
New essays on any aspect of Sherley Anne Williams’ writing are sought, from a variety of critical and interpretive perspectives. Specific topics and themes may include, but are not limited to:
– blues idioms; language; orality; music
– gender studies; black womanist theory
– depictions of nature; ecocritical readings
– sexuality and the erotic
– dramatic collaborations; adaptation of poetry to stage/screen
– Working Cotton, and Girls Together, and multicultural children’s literature
– working class literature; agricultural labor
– reconsidering the neoslave narrative; historical/archival revision
– Williams’s influences; intertextuality
– sisterhood; family bonds
– geography; migration; diaspora
– critical race theory
Callaloo Submission Guidelines:
Manuscripts must be submitted online through the Callaloo manuscript submission system by August 1, 2017. Please see the submission guidelines here:
http://callaloo.expressacademic.org/login.php. In order to submit a manuscript, you must register with the online system. The registration process will only take a few minutes. All manuscripts will follow the usual review process for submissions, and the Callaloo editor makes all final editorial decisions. Please note all manuscripts must follow the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd Edition) and include in-text citations, a works cited, and endnotes for any commentary.
Wendy W. Walters is a Professor in the department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing, at Emerson College, Boston, teaching courses in African American and African diaspora literature and culture. She is the author of two books, Archives of the Black Atlantic: Reading Between Literature and History (Routledge, March 2013), and At Home in Diaspora: Black International Literature (U of Minnesota, 2005). She has also published articles in Callaloo, American Literature, African American Review, Novel, and MELUS.