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Q&A with New York City Author Nkosi Ife Bandele

Amanda K.

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Nkosi Ife Bandele is a writer from New York City. His books include The Ape is Dead!, The Beast, Scott Free and the newly published Professor Marvel, all of which are published by Crimson Cloak Publishing. His short fiction appears in Akashic Book’s Terrible Twosdays series. He also writes for periodicals, stage, television, and film.

What book/author are you currently reading or will read within the next few months?

I’m currently obsessed with the writings of Rachel Cusk and Elena Ferrante, the Neapolitan Novels and Outline Trilogy, respectively. Both write with such wisdom and frankness, certainly a variety of storytelling to which I aspire.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I am writing wholly fictionalized autobiography and trying to do so with a 21st Century sensibility—in relation to, or in the shadow of, or perhaps in the midst of, the television and Internet age, its overwhelming effect that seems to have led to such diversity of thought and language, a fragmentation even.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Gunter Grass’s Tin Drum and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man continue to hold a particular sway over me. The first of my favorite quotes is the first sentence of the Tin Drum: “Granted: I AM an inmate of a mental hospital.” Not so ironically, my second favorite quote is the last sentence of Invisible Man: "Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?"

What has influenced you the most as a writer?

I’m deeply influenced by the irreverent comedy and storytelling abilities of Richard Pryor and Woody Allen.

Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists or C) Epic settings?

I am drawn to character-driven stories and, much of my fiction is written in first person.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My latest book, Professor Marvel, explores the life of a popular black male professor at a predominantly white, women’s college who freaks when a radical feminist compares him to the Kansas charlatan turned Wizard of Oz. His dubiousness is confirmed when he succumbs to the charms of a student, an aspiring fashion model. Meanwhile, he keeps a secret affair with an older feminist colleague. The she-it hits the fan when her estranged husband becomes jealous and challenges him to a fistfight. Certain he’ll be blamed when the old man’s pacemaker explodes, Professor Marvel takes flight. His prior indiscretion eventually catches up to him when he discovers the fashion model exploits a sex tape as her steppingstone to fame.

Learn more about Nkosi Ife Bandele on his website at https://eshubandele.com/

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