Ta-Nehisi Coates is a former staff writer at The Village Voice and Time and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and numerous other publications. Coates has authored a memoir: The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, and runs a blog, Ta-Nehisi News, which was named one of Time magazine's Best Blogs of 2011. He lives in New York City.
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A Conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates author of The Beautiful Struggle
The Beautiful Struggle is a memoir with three central characters: you, your
brother, Big Bill, and your father, Paul Coates, a Vietnam vet and Black
Panther. What was it like to write your first book when the people you were
describing are still so close to you?
Not as hard as you might imagine. My people have always been open about these sorts of things, though I must say I didn't know how open until I started interviewing and writing. I think two things are at work here. 1) People just love to talkI know this from my magazine writing. As crazy as it sounds, most people want to tell you their story, and they want it to be recorded. I often regret that I didn't know this when I was single! Moving on. 2) My brother and father know they have their issues, but they also know that most people have issues. They understand that when you read The Beautiful Struggle, whatever rawness, whatever dirt that's there, you'll see in yourself. To err is human, as the old cliché goes, and I think those points at which we all err in the book are the very things that will draw people in. Even if they haven't walked the same road, I ...
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