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Redneck Noir Literature :: A Movement?

In the latest issue of The Chattahoochee Review, Ron Cooper hosts a conversation with Paul Ruffin and Eric Miles Williamson about a possible movement called “‘redneck noir,’ composed of writers strewn across the country—from the Bible Belt to the Rust Belt, from the Appalachians to the Sierra Nevada—who are from poor backgrounds and proud to write about them.” Cooper asks Williamson if he considers it a movement:

“It’s never been a movement. This has nothing to do with a bunch of–what do you want to call us?—rednecks, white trash, working poor… None of us likes any of these terms.” He explains how it has to do with the availability of higher education. At the end of WWII, people could afford to go to school under the GI Bill. “This is now ending, however,” he says. “With the defunding of state colleges and universities, tuition is no longer affordable for working-class kids. If I were eighteen today, I’d have to stay a construction worker. … The era, about fifty years, of the working-class novel, the working-class writer or artist of any sort, will be over when my generation dies.”

It’s an insightful and interesting interview, well worth the read whether you are into the genre (? movement?) or not.

Also in this issue are contest winners Jeremy Collins (nonfiction) and Alexander Weinsten (fiction) as well as work from Stephanie Powell Watts, Tori Malcangio, Michael Noll, Bipin Aurora, Jessica Piazza, Okla Elliot, and more.

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