A literary event—selected and previously uncollected fiction by the woman who was the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance.
When Dorothy West died in 1998, she was the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance, a contemporary of Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright. Popular history holds that between the publication of her two novels (The Living is Easy in 1948 and The Wedding in 1995), Dorothy West fell silent.
In fact, there was never a time in Dorothy West’s life in which she was not writing and publishing. The Last Leaf of Harlem gathers West’s writing from these supposedly silent yearssyndicated fiction in the New York Daily News, pieces for the Work Progress Administration’s Federal Writer’s Project, and publications in small journals and magazinesalong with known and beloved pieces by this extraordinary writer.
Many of these stories, describing and exploring marriage, loss, family life, and poverty were lost until now. The Last Leaf of Harlem brings together the almost-forgotten pieces of Dorothy West’s lifework, and gives the reader a fresh look into a remarkable writer and career.
DOROTHY WEST was born in Boston circa 1908. At her death in 1998, she was the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance. Her works include: The Living is Easy, The Wedding, and The Richer, The Poorer. LIONEL C. BASCOM is a professor of English at Western Connecticut State University. A long-time investigative journalist, Bascom has specialized lately in the discovery of forgotten or neglected literary manuscripts by early 20th Century African-Americans, black folklore and stories about black culture in the United States. He is the editor of A Renaissance in Harlem and lives in Danbury, Connecticut.