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Wideman, John Edgar

american stories novels african

(US, 1941– )

Only the second African-American male to win the prestigious Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford, Wideman has worked as a professor of English at various American universities, and currently holds this post at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has written novels, short stories, essays and a collection of memoirs, Brothers and Keepers (1984). The Homewood Books (1985) comprise two novels, Hiding Place (1981) and Sent for You Yesterday (1983), and a collection of short stories, Damballah (1981). This trilogy draws extensively on Wideman's own family stories and experiences growing up in an African-American neighbourhood of Pittsburgh. Each work is interrelated, depicting key moments in the lives of its characters over the course of the twentieth century. Wideman's vivid prose is packed with sensory details and brims with many voices, which can make his work a challenging read.

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