NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
BLANCHE McCRARY BOYD
Appeared on "The Writer" aired from WMHT, Channel 17
Air Date: WMHT, Channel 17, Saturday, May 22, 1999, 6:00 p.m.
Air Date: WMHQ, Channel 45, Wednesday, May 26, 1999, 9:30 p.m
Blanche McCrary Boyd is the author of four novels, most recently Terminal Velocity (1997), which Publishers Weekly described as "a rollicking, kaleidoscopic trip through the drug-tinged lesbian-feminist counter-culture of the 1970s." Her other novels include Nerves (1973), Mourning the Death of Magic (1977), and The Revolution of Little Girls (1992), which won the Ferro Grumley Foundation's award for the best work of fiction written in 1991. It was also nominated for the Lambda Award, for Quality Paperback Books' New Voices Award, and for the first Southern Book Award for Fiction. Born in South Carolina, Boyd's work is frequently set in the South and focuses on gender confusion. Her work has received enthusiastic praise from American critics who applaud her novels for this eccentric characters, their probing philosophical issues and their style.
Boyd also has published The Redneck Way of Knowledge (1982), a collection of essays, autobiography, and journalism. The reviewer for The Nation called it "impressive. . .superb. . .the best kind of social criticism." Boyd has been a staff writer at the Village Voice and a contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
Blanche McCrary Boyd gave a reading at the New York State Writers Institute on October 23, 1997.
"In 1970 I realized that the Sixties were passing me by. I had never even smoked a joint, or slept with anyone besides my husband. A year later I had left Nicky, changed my name from Ellen to Rain, and moved to a radical lesbian commune in California named Red Moon Rising, where I was playing the Queen of Hearts in an outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland when two FBI agents arrived to arrest the Red Queen. . ."
So begins Blanche McCrary Boyd's brilliantly raucous account of self-styled feminist outlaws, their desperate adventures and extraordinary fates. Ellen, the narrator of Boyd's previous novel, The Revolution of Little Girls, this time pierces the heart of the sexual revolution in her quest to find a woman hero or--by default--to become one.
Ferociously paced, Terminal Velocity delineates six wonderfully engaging characters: Artemis Foote, for whom being rich, talented, and beautiful is a kind of game; Jordan, a messianic fugitive who becomes Ellen's lover; Amethyst Woman, a Marxist/Leninist dentist; Ross, a red-diaper baby and now a columnist for Ramparts; and Pearl, an art history professor turned hippie. At the center of this vortex is Ellen, prior to her transformation happily married and a rising young editor at a genteel publishing house in Boston. Together with these women, she is caught in the political and moral tailspin of the Sixties, living in a sexualized world-without boundaries that leads them, eventually, to destruction, acceptance, and even redemption.
Deadpan funny and exquisitely moving, Terminal Velocity brings Boyd's lyricism, humor, and depth to material largely unexplored in American literature.
What other writers have said about Boyd's work:
"As a writer she is altogether irreplaceable... Her style is sure, true, and vastly pleasurable."
- Robert Stone
"Wild, original, witty, imaginative, without a false note, and with a wonderfully honest and endearing feminine voice--not the soft, high-toned voice of a Southern belle, but the direct, buckshot explosion of a lady redneck turned narrator... I believed in her, trusted her, loved her heroine, and hated, when it was over, to be out of her company." - Doris Grumbach
"Boyd seems to be able to write about that generation... without making them puppets or targets."
- Margaret Atwood
"There is writing magic on page after page... She is in the best of her generation. I wish I had words, ways, to lead every true writer to it." - Tillie Olsen
"She writes a sturdy, trustworthy, and handsome prose and makes imperishable sparks with her vision." - Barry Hannah
"Blanche McCrary Boyd turns a fresh and unsentimental eye to the extremes of very human characters. Here is a pen filled with ink that's funny and intuitive." - Susan Minot
"Truth is, I wanted to grow up to be Blanche Boyd." - Dorothy Allison
Books by Blance McCrary Boyd:
Writers Online Magazine Article
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute
at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.