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Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker
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Training School for Negro Girls

$17.96 USD

Retail price (USD): $19.95

Discount: 10%

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Length 5 hours 42 minutes
Language English
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This debut collection is a complicated love letter to Washington, DC, and to those who call it home: a TSA agent who’s never flown, a girl braving new worlds to play piano, and a teacher caught up in a mayoral race. These characters navigate life’s “training school”―with lessons on gentrification and respectability—and fight to create their own sense of space and self.

Camille Acker grew up in Washington, DC. She holds a BA in English from Howard University and an MFA in creative writing from New Mexico State University. Her writing has received support from the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, Callaloo Writers’ Workshop, Voices of Our Nations Arts, Millay Colony for the Arts, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program, among others. She was a fiction coeditor for Dismantle: An Anthology from the VONA/Voices Workshop (Thread Makes Blanket Press 2014). In 2015, she helped cofound the Spinsters Union, a digital content site by and for women. She has worked for social justice non-profits and taught in a variety of educational spaces including Chicago Writers Studio and University of Illinois at Chicago. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from Hazlitt, Splinter, VICE, DAME Magazine, Fandor, and NewCity, among others. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in Fiction for the creative writing program at New Mexico State University.

Bahni Turpin has guest starred in many television series, including NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Six Feet Under, and Cold Case. Her film credits include Brokedown Palace and Crossroads. She has won numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and three prestigious Audie Awards.

Janina Edwards, an Earphone Award–winning narrator, is a graduate of the acting program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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Reviews

“The life experience of Acker’s Washingtonian women is broad…but they all share a shrewd understanding of the narrow perceptions they face as black women. When underestimated they’re often fiercely, beautifully unyielding.”

“This flawlessly executed work reinvigorates the short fiction genre.”

“A timely, welcome book.”

“This brilliant collection of stories…offers insights into the times in life where we learn the truths that define our path forward, that make us who we are.”

“Explores the irony and tragicomedy of ‘respectability’ and the role it plays in the lives of a wide-ranging cast of characters.”

“Narrators Bahni Turpin and Janina Edwards trade off the saucy short stories in this collection. Their liveliness will have listeners laughing out loud at the audacity of the characters…We experience the ups and downs of gentrification through Turpin and Edwards’ creative styles. They move smoothly from male characters to female ones with believable voices and cadences. Whether they’re depicting sassy women or deep-voiced men, this is a quick listen as the stories are told at a rapid-fire pace, creating an enjoyable experience throughout.”

“This sharp and sensitive collection, Acker’s debut, traces the lives of black women and girls in Washington, DC, across different neighborhoods, socioeconomic statuses, and decades…Grappling with ideas like gentrification and social-climbing through the fine-tuned eyes of her characters, Acker never oversimplifies or neatens the complexities that make up life.”

“Beautifully rendered characters struggle to find a sense of themselves in their complex lives.”

“Acker shows that the lives of black girls and women are vast and varied, pushing back on the monolithic ways they are often portrayed.”

“Acker navigates her characters’ lives with humor, heart, and grace. I loved these stories.”

Training School for Negro Girls is a symphony of story: the clear, true voices of girls and women shaping who they might be against the constraints of the weights and counterweights of race and history and gender. Marvelous.”

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