Main content

America: Inequality & Race

Jesmyn Ward, novelist and editor of essay collection The Fire This Time, Sarah Churchwell, author of Behold America and novelist John Edgar Wideman talk to Christopher Harding.

Jesmyn Ward - author of Sing, Unburied Sing talks to Christopher Harding about editing a collection of essays called The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race and about the depictions of family life and poverty and the influence of Greek drama on her prize winning novels. Sarah Churchwell traces the history of the use and meaning of the phrases 'the American Dream' and 'America First'. John Edgar Wideman explains what he was seeking to do by blurring fact and fiction in his new short story collection American Histories.

Jesmyn Ward's novels include Salvage the Bones, Where the Line Bleeds and Sing, Unburied Sing - and a memoir called Men We Reaped. She has received a MacArthur Genius Grant and won two National Book Awards for Fiction. She has edited a collection of Essays called The Fire This Time which takes its inspiration from James Baldwin's 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time.

Professor Sarah Churchwell is the author of books including Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby and Behold America: A History of America First and the American Dream

John Edgar Wideman's work includes the novels The Cattle Killing and Philadelphia Fire and the memoir Brothers and Keepers. His new collection of short stories - American Histories - weaves real characters including Frederick Douglass and Jean-Michel Basquiat into imaginary narratives.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Tue 1 May 2018 22:00

Broadcast

Featured in...

The Arts and Ideas Podcast

You can download all the past episodes of Radio 3's Free Thinking

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE all programmes from the Free Thinking Festival 2018: The One and the Many

This year we examine the fast-changing relationship between the individual and the crowd.

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE all programmes, images, clips & features from 2017's festival

Free Thinking Festival 2017: The Speed of Life