Raven Leilani: Luster

"The idea of the strong black woman who is noble and virtuous for how much pain she can bear and how well she bears it is extremely dehumanizing."

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What do you want to do with your life and how much are you willing to struggle for it?  Bestselling debut novelist Raven Leilani has written a luminous book that explores this question.  Luster is a fearless, and sometimes funny, story about a complicated, maybe even a bit perverse, black millennial, who finds some of what she thinks she wants out of life with a digital archivist named Eric, a white man twice her age in an open marriage. And then from  his wife. And then from their daughter.

Raven Leilani's work has been published in GrantaMcSweeney's Quarterly ConcernNarrativeYale ReviewConjunctionsThe Cut and New England Review, among other publications. She won Narrative's Ninth Annual Poetry Contest and the Matt Clark Editor's Choice Prize, as well as short fiction prizes from Bat City Review and Blue Earth Review. Luster is her first novel.

About the Host

Amanda Stern is Bookable’s host. Founder of the popular literary event series Happy Ending at Joe’s Pub in New York City, Stern is also a writer. Happy Ending ran for more than a decade and was selected as New York’s best book-related series by New York Magazine, The Village Voice and NY Press. The New York Times Magazine singled out Happy Ending as a force keeping “downtown New York alive.”


This episode was produced by Andrew Dunn, Beau Friedlander and Amanda Stern. It was edited, mixed and sound-designed by Andrew Dunn who also created Bookable's chill vibe.  Our host is Amanda Stern. Beau Friedlander is Bookable's executive producer and editor in chief of Loud Tree Media.


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