Lessons from the Master

Studio 360
The World

Last week, Studio 360 revisited a lively conversation with Marlon James -- his novel The Book of Night Women is just out in paperback. All the main characters in the novel are women, and they're rendered vibrantly.

But it seems he didn't always have that talent. In the interview, James tells Kurt that after he finished his very first novel, a teacher told him he had real potential as a writer... but that he didn't have a clue how to flesh out believable women characters. His assignment: read Toni Morrison, especially Sula.

To my mind--and James's--Morrison is a master at creating beautiful, imperfect characters. I love, too, that she didn't start writing seriously until she was about 35. She went on to be the first African- American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Here she talks about her late start, and what inspired her to write her first novel, The Bluest Eye.

Morrison talked about writing books for children on Studio 360 in 2003.

- Cary Barbor

Will you help our nonprofit newsroom today?

Every week, more than 2 million listeners tune into our broadcast and follow our digital coverage like this story, which is available to read for free thanks to charitable contributions from listeners like you. But less than 1% of our audience supports our program directly. From now through the end of the year, every gift will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor, which means your gift will help us unlock a $67,000 challenge match.

Will you join our growing list of loyal supporters and double your impact today?