BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary: Selected Works of Kathleen Collins by Kathleen Collins [in Booklist]

In 2014, a quarter-century after the 1988 death of filmmaker/playwright/writer/activist Kathleen Collins at 46 of breast cancer, indie distributor Milestone Films reintroduced her groundbreaking 1982 movie, Losing Ground, one of the first films written and directed by an African American woman, inspiring new interest in the multifaceted pioneer. The 2016 publication of Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? – a collection of 16 stories – played a pivotal role in gaining Collins new audiences.

She continues her posthumous comeback with this prodigious, diverse compilation of three short stories, an unfinished-novel excerpt, diary entries, personal letters, stage plays, and screen plays (including the history-making Losing Ground), edited by her daughter Nina Collins, who also lends her voice to the full-cast narration featuring January LaVoy, Robin Miles, Bahni Turpin, Adenrele Ojo, and Mari.

In her sharply observant introduction, Danielle Evans (Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self) highlights Collins’ deft portrayals of the “spaces [that] render a [black] woman invisible,” as mothers, daughters, friends, and lovers; and exposes their struggles to be seen, understood, respected, and – most desperately – loved. The three short stories, diary entries, and letters (especially those written to a teenaged Nina) prove decidedly lingering.

Review: “Media,” Booklist Online, August 9, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2019


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