It’s the birthday of American novelist and poet Rosellen Brown (books by this author), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1939. Her novels include Tender Mercies (1978), Before and After (1992), and Half a Heart (2000), which tells the story of a white, Jewish woman who is reunited with the biracial daughter she abandoned during the sixties. Her family moved around a lot when she was a child, and Brown began reading writers like Turgenev and Dostoevsky. She said, “I was nine when words began to serve their extraordinary purposes for me: I was lonely and they kept me company, they materialized whenever I called on them, without an argument or a competitive leer.” Brown, who is white, taught at a black college in Tougaloo, Mississippi, during the civil rights era, and began to write politically charged poetry.
She said, “I still write for the same reason I wrote when I was nine years old: to speak more perfectly than I really can, to a listener more perfect than any I know.”
And, “Writing, getting something down on the page, is a gratification that, like a child faced with a candy bar and an empty stomach, I have trouble postponing.”