Why is it great? I read Allison’s “Bastard Out of Carolina” when it was first published, about the time I was covering a range of social justice issues – gender, race, class, sexual orientation. I was clueless to who she was, and had only a glancing grasp of the underlying issues of her novel. But I was stopped in my tracks by the power of her voice and the story she told. Two weeks ago I stumbled into an interview she did with Guernica Magazine, and was stopped anew. I hunted through my groaning bookshelves to find my old paperback and, when I couldn’t, did the Amazon thing for a new copy. The passage I offer here states a writer’s clarity of purpose. Allison speaks as a novelist and memoirist, but the same mission should guide journalists who dare immerse themselves in true human stories. It’s also a gem of plain-spoken poetry. No writerly tricks. No fancy words. Just truth as Allison lived it and wrote it. Stuff. Sin. God.

Most popular articles from Nieman Storyboard

Show comments / Leave a comment