Shawn Stewart Ruff: Finlater

"I took all the guard rails off and let the language be what kids spoke and let the racism be what it was."

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We are all products of our environment.  Who we are, and who we become in the world, is shaped by the places we were raised.  In Shawn Stewart Ruff's debut novel Finlater, a Cincinatti housing project takes center stage, acting as a springboard for every aspect of protagonist Cliffy Douglass's young life.  The book is fiction but draws closely from Ruff’s own childhood growing up Black  in the 1970s. Moving and memorable, Finlater explores the overt racism that still plagues America. With a probing eye and tender touch Amanda explores Ruff's world in this secret coming-of-age classic about changing demographics, interracial friendship, sexual orientation, and first love.

Finlater - #1 Dad

Shawn Stewart Ruff is author of the novels GJS II (2016), Toss and Whirl and Pass (2010), Finlater (2008), winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction; and the novella One/10th (2013), the first of ten small entwined works inspired by W. E. B. DuBois' The Talented Tenth. He is also the editor of the landmark anthology Go the Way Your Blood Beats (1996).

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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