BROTHER AND THE DANCER

Winner of the 2012 James D. Houston award, Keenan Norris's first novel is a beautiful, gritty, coming-of-age tale about two young african americans in the San Bernardino valley—a story of exceptional power, lyricism, and depth. Erycha and Touissant live only a few miles apart in the city of Highland, but their worlds are starkly separated by the lines of class, violence, and history. in alternating chapters that touch and intertwine only briefly, brother and the dancer follows their adolescence and young adulthood on two sides of the city, the luminous San Bernardino range casting its hot shade over their separate tales in an unflinching vision of black life in Southern California.

"Read Keenan Norris, an important new American writer. His Brother and the Dancer delivers everything we want from a first novel: a story we've never read before, a world we've never quite known, a vision we're unfamiliar with. And yet it gives us something more, too, and just as exciting: the prose of a mature artist, and an understanding of the human heart that would seem nearly impossible in a writer so young. I learned many things from this fine and daring book."

—ANDREW WINER, AUTHOR OF THE MARRIAGE ARTIST


"Using bold narrative strategies, Keenan Norris gives us a first novel that is at once sympathetic and unsettling. Brother and the Dancer is a refreshing signal that fiction in the twenty-first century can still carry the weight of moral imperatives as it mediates chaotic aspects of our heritage. It is most rewarding to savor Norris's remarkable insights."

—JERRY W. WARD JR., AUTHOR OF THE KATRINA PAPERS: A JOURNAL OF TRAUMA AND RECOVERY AND COEDITOR OF THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE

STREET LIT: REPRESENTING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE

Over the last few decades, the genre of urban fiction—or street lit—has become increasingly popular as more novels secure a place on bestseller lists that were once the domain of mainstream authors. In the 1970s, pioneers such as Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim, and Claude Brown paved the way for today's street fiction novelists, poets, and short story writers, including Sister Souljah, Kenji Jasper, and Colson Whitehead.

In Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape, Keenan Norris has assembled a varied collection of articles, essays and interviews that capture the spirit of urban fiction and nonfiction produced from the 1950s through the present day. Providing both critical analyses and personal insights, these works explore the street lit phenomenon to help readers understand how and why this once underground genre has become such a vital force in contemporary literature. Interviews with literary icons David Bradley, Gerald Early, and Lynel Gardner are balanced with critical discussions of works by Goines, Jasper, Whitehead, and others.

With an introduction by Norris that explores the roots of street lit, this collection defines the genre for today's readers and provides valuable insights into a cultural force that is fast becoming as important to the American literary scene as hip-hop is to music. Featuring a foreword by bestselling novelist Omar Tyree (Flyy Girl) and comprised of works by scholars, established authors, and new voices, Street Lit will inspire any reader who wants to understand the significance of this sometimes controversial but unquestionably popular art form.