Saidiya Hartman

Contemporary writer

Saidiya Hartman

Saidiya Hartman

Saidiya Hartman is the author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, and Scenes of Subjection. A MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, she is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and lives in New York.

cover image of the book Francisco


by Alison Mills Newman

With a contribution by Saidiya Hartman

Alison Mills Newman’s novel Francisco—“profoundly underappreciated” (NY Times)—has long been out of print and impossible to find. Written in her early twenties in a “fluently funky mix of standard and nonstandard English” (Harryette Mullen), Mills Newman tells the vibrant story of a young black woman’s love affair with an indie filmmaker, Francisco. Described as “a portrait of the artist as a young black woman trying to find a way back to herself” in the new foreword by Saidiya Hartman, Francisco unfolds like an on-the-road diary of a young actress and musician as she becomes increasingly disillusioned with success in Hollywood. She chronicles her bohemian life with her filmmaker lover, visiting friends and family up and down California, and her involvement in the 1970s Black Arts movement. Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, Pharoah Sanders, Melvin Van Peebles, Frank Silvera, and Amiri Baraka make appearances, along with other artists and writers like Ishmael Reed and Joe Overstreet. Love and friendship, long revealing conversations, parties and dancing in Berkeley and LA—Francisco celebrates “the workins of a positive alive life that is good value, quality, carin, truth . . . the gift of art for the survival of the human heart."

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