February 6, 2019

Kim McLarin

Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed local writer KIM MCLARIN—author of Meeting of the Waters and Jump at the Sun—for a discussion of her new essay collection, Womanish: A Grown Black Woman Speaks on Love and Life.


Womanish. (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior . . . Acting grown up. Being grown up . . . ―Alice Walker’s Definition of a “Womanist” from In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose

Born in 1964, the last year of the Boomers or the first year of Generation X, depending upon who's counting, Kim McLarin came of age as part of the first real "Brown vs. Board" generation, and that experience, of America first embracing and then rejecting a real and meaningful beloved racial community, has shaped everything in her life.

Searing in its emotional honesty, Womanish is an essay collection that explores what it means to be a black woman in today’s turbulent times. Writing with candor, wit and vulnerability on topics including dating after divorce, depression, parenting older children, the Obamas, and the often fraught relations between white and black women, McLarin unveils herself at the crossroads of being black, female and middle-aged, and, ultimately, American. Powerful and timely, Womanish draws upon a lifetime of experiences to paint a portrait of a black woman trying to come to terms with the world around her, and of a society trying to come to terms with black women.

About Author(s)

Kim McLarin is the author of the novels Taming It Down, Meeting of the Waters, and Jump at the Sun. McLarin is also co-author of the memoir Growing Up Xwith Ilyasah Shabazz. Jump at the Sun was chosen as a 2007 Fiction Honor Book by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. It was also nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and selected by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as a 2007 Fiction Honor Book. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications. She is a former staff writer for the New York Times, The Philadelphia InquirerThe Greensboro News & Record, and The Associated Press