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White Author Says He Won't Write Book on Race Since He Has Few Black Friends. Then Comes the Backlash.


"failure of writing and of humanity."

NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — Award-winning novelist Jonathan Franzen has an admittedly uncomfortable reason for why he doesn't expect to write a book about race: He doesn't know many blacks.

Author Jonathan Franzen gestures as he speaks at an event at BookExpo America, Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

In an interview that appeared last weekend on Slate.com, the author of "The Corrections" said he had few black friends and had "never been in love" with a black woman. He called his comments "an embarrassing confession."

Franzen's remarks were widely criticized, with National Book Award finalist Angela Flournoy tweeting that Franzen's books were indeed "about race," if only because they expressed a white perspective.

Author Celeste Ng tweeted that Franzen showed a "failure of writing and of humanity." In response, Joyce Carol Oates suggested Franzen's detractors "cast the first stone" and write "stronger novels than J.F." Oates called that the "best revenge."

After accepting Oates' challenge, Ng offered a few other tweets in response to Oates and then said Oates blocked her on Twitter.

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