Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka was the first black African to win the Nobel Prize in literature, in 1986. He tells NPR's Michel Martin that the best part about it was the money. His latest work, Of Africa, is a study of the continent that has dominated his career.
Oprah Winfrey's second pick for her rebooted book club is The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by first-time novelist Ayana Mathis. It's a chronicle of the Great Migration of African-Americans leaving the rural South, following a family matriarch who leaves Georgia to start a new life in Philadelphia.
Justin Lee grew up in a Southern Baptist family. At age 18, he came out to his family and church, who had trouble accepting him as a gay man. Lee later started the Gay Christian Network to encourage a dialogue between gay Christians, their families and their churches. His new book is Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays Vs. Christians Debate.
NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates profiles novelist Susan Straight, who is putting her hometown of Riverside, Calif., on the literary map. Straight herself is white, but she weaves the black, working-class voices of Riverside into her work.
In his new book, author and oenophile Paul Lukacs traces the 8,000-year history of our original alcoholic beverage — from ancient times, when wine was believed to be of divine origin, to the sauvignon blanc you find in your supermarket today.
In his new novel, The Testament of Mary, Irish author Colm Toibin imagines Mary's life 20 years after the crucifixion, as she wonders what she might have done differently to ease her son's suffering. "I felt that I was Mary," he says. "I was her consciousness, watching the thing happening."
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