Encore: The many layers of Charmaine Wilkerson’s ‘Black Cake’
This week on The Write Question, Lauren returns to her 2022 conversation with novelist Charmaine Wilkerson, author of Black Cake (Ballantine Books), a novel about inheritances, small and profound—like a recipe for black cake, passed down from a mother to her children, learned by demonstration, conversation, and proximity; Wilkerson writes in the novel, “baking black cake was like handling a relationship. The recipe, on paper, was simple enough. Its success depended on the quality of the ingredients, but mostly on well you handled them.” Black Cake is the story of a mother, a woman, whose traumas and histories she hid from her children—children who, after her death, are forced to confront their mother’s past, as well as their own identities in light of such shocking revelations.
Charmaine Wilkerson is from New York, has lived in Jamaica, and does much of her writing in Italy. A former news and communication professional, she has published award-winning stories in various anthologies and magazines. Her debut novel Black Cake is a New York Times bestseller and a #ReadWithJenna book club pick. A screen series based on the novel is currently under development for Hulu.
Charmaine Wilkerson recommends:
Anancy and Miss Lou by Louise Bennett (Sangster’s Book Stores)
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Grove Press, Black Cat)
Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Penguin Random House)
Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades (Penguin Random House)
A Little Hope by Ethan Joella (Scribner)
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez (Flatiron Books)
Lauren Korn recommends:
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson (Ballantine Books)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Alfred A. Knopf)
The Write Question team is Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; Peter Hoag, co-producer and editor; and Tom Berich, sound engineer.
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