“My books are always questions for me. What if? How does it feel to…? Or what would it look like if you took racism out? Or what does it look like if you have the perfect town, everything you ever wanted?” The Guardian, Nov 1 2008
“I live in places that I love. And I’d hate to lose them. The house on the river I’ve been in since the Seventies. But home is an idea rather than a place. It’s where you feel safe. Where you’re among people who are kind to you – they’re not after you; they don’t have to like you – but they’ll not hurt you. And if you’re in trouble they’ll help you… It’s community – that’s another word for what I’ve described… And we’ve moved from that in this country.” The Telegraph, July 17 2012
“Race is the classification of a species.. And we are the human race, period. But the other thing – the hostility, the racism – is the moneymaker. And it also has some emotional satisfaction for people who need it.” The Guardian, April 20 2015
“What I’m interested in is writing without the gaze, without the white gaze… In so many earlier books by African-American writers, particularly the men, I felt that they were not writing to me. But what interested me was the African-American experience throughout whichever time I spoke of. It was always about African-American culture and people — good, bad, indifferent, whatever — but that was, for me, the universe.” The New York Times, April 8 2015
“Tell us what it is to be a woman so that we may know what it is to be a man” CNN
“I am a black writer struggling with and through a language that can powerfully evoke and enforce hidden signs of racial superiority, cultural hegemony and dismissive “othering” of people and language. . . . The kind of work which I have always wanted to do requires me to learn how to manoeuvre ways to free up the language from its . . . racially informed and deter- mined chains” Playing in the dark: Whiteness and the literary imagination. (pp. x-xi) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.