Texas Writers Month Author Interview Series: Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts

author interview

Celebrating Texas Writers Month with us today is Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (Houston).

Comment below and subscribe via Feedburner by June 11 to win a signed copy of Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America. Giveaway for U.S. residents only.

Writing by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts has appeared in Transition, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. She has received awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. A Harvard graduate and Fulbright Scholar, Sharifa is currently writing a trilogy on African-Americans and utopia.

author interview

Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?

A. I’m a native Texan, born and raised in Houston.

Q. How did you end up writing nonfiction?

A. I started writing professionally about a year after college. I traveled in India and was asked to do some travel writing and book reviewing for some Delhi-based publications. When I came back to America, I had a few clips to share with editor friends and I started freelancing as a book reviewer. When I moved in NYC & Harlem in 2002, I was already writing, but it was the experience of living in Harlem that inspired my book Harlem is Nowhere.

Q. What book marketing activities made you a bestselling author?

A. I don’t think I’m a bestselling author yet, but I’ve done a lot of events, which has been a great way to meet readers, and to collaborate with other artists, writers and thinkers.

Q. Tell us about your latest release.

A. Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America is nonfiction about the history and importance of Harlem across 100 years, and also my personal experience of living there. Being a Texan is, in a way, an important part of the personal part of the story, because moving to Harlem made me very aware of my Texan-ness, and of the Southern-ness of being Texan. I encountered neighborhood elders who were from the south and were part of the Great Migrations that shifted a huge number of African-Americans from South to North. I felt connected to that history.

Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?

A. My website is www.sharifarhodespitts.com, and the book has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HarlemIsNowhere.

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  1. I’m always happy when Texas writers get outside Texas for a while, lending their unique perspective to a whole new part of the world.

  2. Sounds like Harlem can be anywhere or everywhere or wherever you find it. How exciting that a writer of Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts’ stature has chosen to write about this subject and with a Texas twist. I hope the book is successful. If I were teaching a multicultural class, this book would be on the reading list.

  3. This book sounds extremely interesting and once again a wonderful interview!

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