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Kanye West, the Grammy-winning music producer and performer, recently bought the film rights to Lolita Files's Child of God, Publishers Marketplace reported. The deal was made by Steve Fisher at APA, on behalf of Elaine Koster Agency, an agency representative for West told Black Issues Book Review that he had no imminent plans to develop the film project. Files told BIBR she is "pleased about Kanye buying the rights because I enjoy his work, his commitment to positivity within the arts, and the direction he's been taking (rather bold steps) in hip-hop, contrary to what the majority of those in the business are doing."

"He's not relying upon the usual images of female exploitation, violence, and the flashing of wealth," she added. "He actually deals with issues that affect us as a community and a people (the negative impact of materialism, dealing with insecurity, acknowledging faith, the lives lost as a result of supporting blood diamonds, etc.) and isn't afraid to discuss these things in his music, despite how the public may react."

Her book from Simon & Schuster, August 2001, deals with secrets held through generations of a Tennessee family. It was released in paperback this year. Files's most recent book is Tastes Like Chicken, (Simon & Schuster, May 2004), and a new novel, sex.lies.murder.fame, is listed for a January 2006 release from Amistad. Files, who lives in Los Angeles, is now developing projects for film and television. She said she did not know if she would be involved in making the film from her book.

West was the leader in Grammy nominations this year with 10 and won Best Rap Album for The College Dropout and Best Rap Song for his haunting single "Jesus Walks." and one for his work on The Diary of Alicia Keys. His latest album, Late Registration, was released August 30.

Suzan-Lori Parks, the 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner for Topdog/Underdog, will write the book to the planned musical based on the life and music of Ray Charles, following the success of the film Ray, Variety reported. Producers are Stuart Benjamin, Howard Baldwin, Karen Baldwin and Joe Adams, who is Charles's former manager. Parks is author of the novel, Getting Mother's Body, (Random House; May 2003) and other plays.

Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films was reported to be lining up Toni Morrison's novel Paradise (Knopf, 1998) as its next adaptation for ABC as a four-hour miniseries but details were still unconfirmed at press time. It was an Oprah's Book Club selection, reprinted by Plume, in 1999.

State Street Pictures bought the rights to Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, by Mamie Till Mobley, and Christopher Benson, (One World/Ballantine, December 2004)--reviewed in BIBR, May-June 2004. According to the Book Standard, which tracks the trade, Benson, David Barr and Raymond Thomas will write a script, telling the story surrounding Emmett Till. The 14-year-old Chicago youth was murdered by torture while visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955 for the "crime" of whistling at a white woman. The case--and his mother's decision to allow open-casket viewing of his brutalized body for pictures shown round the world 50 years ago--were powerful sparks for the Civil Rights Movement.

Aaron McGruder and the Cartoon Network are now bringing The Boondocks to a cable television in your home. The show by McGruder, who is in his early thirties, was to premier October 2 in a late-night spot on the Time-Warner franchise and is expected to be less news-oriented than his cartoons read in about 350 newspapers. Many regularly censor him by yanking particularly outrageous panels, so it remains to be seen how he will play in our living rooms.

"It astounds me that good, responsible white people are going to pay for the show. I've been just totally amazed" the Dallas Morning News quoted McGruder as saying this summer. Whether the quote was apocryphal or tongue-in-cheek, McGruder is not generally so demure. Reporters at a news conference apparently fixated on whether he will use the N-word on air as he has in his drawings, according to the Washington Post. Probably so, even if it offends some people, he said, adding "that's what late-night cable is for, I guess so." McGruder's most recent book is Public Enemy #2: An All-New Boondocks Collection (Three Rivers Press, April 2005). [See BIBR, "Aaron McGruder's Greatest Hits," September-October 2003.]

Ladies, Start Your Manuscripts

Harlequin Enterprises confirmed it would produce a new contemporary African American line in July 2006, including a women's fiction section in a trade format, and a series romance section in mass-market paperbacks.

"We're looking for contemporary women's fiction for and about the modern African American woman," said Christine Saunders, pubic relations manager for Harlequin. "First or third-person, and all settings are welcome. The story types for the trade will include African American chic lit, relationship and sisterhood fiction (like the book and movie Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan), glitz and glamour and sweeping family sagas."

Industry insiders say such proven romance writers as Brenda Jackson and Rochelle Alers have already signed up to write for the new line.

Interested writers should send their inquiries to Mavis Allen, Associate Senior Editor, Harlequin Enterprises, 233 Broadway, Suite 1001, New York, NY 10279. The main telephone number is 212-553-4200.

Potential readers will have to wait awhile to see the results.


Zadie Smith, author of On Beauty (Penguin Press HCT, September 2005, ISBN 1-594-20063-7), was among nominees to the "short list" of books under consideration for the 2005 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Her previous books include White Teeth (Vintage, June 2001) and The Autograph Man (Vintage, June 2003).

"This has been an exceptional year, and in the judges' opinion may rank as one of the strongest ever since the prize was founded in 1969," said the chair of judges, John Sutherland.

The winner was to be announced on Monday, October 10 at an awards ceremony broadcast live on the BBC.

Cecelie S. Berry was recently honored with a 2005 American Book Award for her anthology Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood, (hardcover, Doubleday, May 2004 and paperback Harlem Moon/Broadway, April 2005), an anthology of black women writers on motherhood. Contributors include Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, June Jordan and Rita Dove.

Asali Solomon, of Lexington, Virginia, is one of six recipients of the 2005 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards, given annually to emerging women writers "who demonstrate excellence and promise" Solomon, 32, is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University. Her short-story collection is scheduled for publication by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in spring 2006, and she will use the Jaffee prize money for research on a novel.

Mentoring New Scholars

Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color (CNV) will meet during the annual convention of the National Council of Teacher's of English (NCTE) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Nov. 17 through 20 at the David L Lawrence Convention Center.

"Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color exists to increase the diversity of perspectives in educational research by mentoring early career scholars of color in English language arts education and related fields," said Dale Allender, director of NCTE West at University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and the program officer for NCTE.

CNV has a spring institute and a fall conferences for fellows to confer with mentors, including alumni fellows, on their dissertations and theses.

"CNV has contributed to our communities by helping early career scholars of color complete doctoral study, enter into postdoctoral study and or assistant professor positions, and secure tenure," Allender said.

For more information about this group, go to

E-mail your news to or fax to 212-947-5674. Please include the name and telephone number of a contact to verify information. Photographs of authors and events will also be considered for use with this column.

--Brook Stephenson contributed this item. Brook Stephenson is a freelance editor, writer and journalist living in Brooklyn and a full-time bookseller in Manhattan.

Angela P. Dodson: E-mail your news to
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Title Annotation:between the lines: the inside scoop on what's happening in the publishing industry
Author:Dodson, Angela P.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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