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Nightstand: Tina McElroy Ansa

By Piper Jones Castillo, Times Staff Writer
Published October 7, 2007

Tina McElroy Ansa, novelist and founder of Sea Island Writers Retreat, founded DownSouth Press earlier this year. The lead title on its first list is Ansa's own Taking After Mudear, the sequel to Ugly Ways. Ansa will be a featured author at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading.

What is on your nightstand?

The Girl with the Golden Shoes by Colin Channer. It's beautiful writing. I've also got Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Memories of My Melancholy Whores.

Can you define beautiful writing?

It's lyrical, and I don't want to see the effort, but I want to feel the writer's effort in writing. I love the experience when I've been on the same page for 20 minutes, re-reading, and thinking about why a writer used particular words.

What writer inspired you?

In about 1970, I read Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. I said, "You mean to tell me I can write about my people?" . . . Zora made me realize I could do right by those hardworking folks in my hometown, from the bean pickers to the denizens at my father's liquor store.


[Last modified October 4, 2007, 10:51:16]

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