Street Lit–Good Lit or Bad Lit?

June 20, 2006

Street Lit—Bad or Good
A mild debate has raged ever since author Nick Chiles wrote in the New York Times that book jackets looked like porn and “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction” left him embarrassed. He ran a session at the recent African American Book Industry Professionals Conference, covered by the Washington Post. There's blathering. Most street-lit, like all the other “lits,” are entertainment—soma for the reading curious. The value of any story rests not in its being real but does the real reveal something in the nature of humanity for readers today and readers a century from now. Most lit-lit will be forgotten before their pages rot. A few might survive.

The success of street-lit might not rest on literary merit but on the fact that there isn't enough novels serving the young African-American and Latino readers. That was the problem for Malorie Blackman when she was a girl, and the problem remains. See her essay from the Guardian.

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One Response to “Street Lit–Good Lit or Bad Lit?”


  1. Mind you it does sell some copies, but it leaves me a little embarrassed as well.


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