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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: V Efua Prince

author V Efua Prince and an image of her book Crazy as Hell

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is important to me because it helps me make sense of my experiences. Too much about my life is beyond my control. But moving words around on a page in an effort to express an idea or to work through a feeling or to depict an image is within my grasp. In a world that seems topsy turvy, writing is a way of orienting myself and creating community.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Writing for me is an exercise of discipline. During the time I regularly set aside to write, I write, even if it is only a few sentences. If I have trouble coming up with something to write about on the subject at hand, I change the subject. In 2016 I could not think of anything to add to a project I was working on, but since it was time to write, I wrote about the only thing about which I had anything to say. It was housework. It’s 2024 and I am still writing about housework! I am not afraid to open a new document.

What is your favorite time to write? My favorite time to write is in the quiet hours of the early morning.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? When I was struggling to write my first book, I shared my manuscript with a friend who said, “You have too many people in your bed!” I don’t know why that metaphor worked so well for me, but I immediately knew what I needed to do. I created a new document and wrote an opening to the book I wanted to read. I had allowed the opinions of many other people to push and pull me throughout the text. Her advice helped me to allow my voice to be the loudest one in my head. Now, I sleep starfish in the bed–so to speak.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I am excited by the community of writers who are working today. I live in an area where people have been writing for decades. We bump up against each other and help sharpen our thinking.

V. Efua Prince’s Crazy as Hell: The Best Little Guide to Black History, co-written by Hoke S. Glover III, is out now with ‎W. W. Norton & Company.