Words have incredible power and can impact the direction of a whole society. Whether an epic cli-fi novel to help prevent climate change or a high fantasy novel that draws a line between right and wrong, the truth is―words are a force that inspires change.
The name James Baldwin, a writer and activist, is sure to be known in most readers’ minds. Baldwin, best known for arguing that emotional connection could help heal America’s racial divide, has a breadth of writings to discover: fiction, essays, plays and poetry. And though many words have been said about him, including those of Carolyn Wedin Sylvander who wrote: ‘One is struck repeatedly by the power of Baldwin’s prose, and by our continuing need, as readers and as citizens, for his steadying apocalyptic vision… one can find a vigorous model for venturing beyond charted areas,’ Baldwin’s voice is of someone who wasn’t afraid to describe who he was, where he’d come from or what he’d seen.
This distinctive style, known for both its eloquence and rhetorical force, inspired readers to confront truths they themselves were often oblivious to, illustrating that words and actions do have an impact on the world and those around us one millimetre at a time.
Baldwin’s powerful and fluid legacy has the remarkable ability to fit whatever category a reader requires.
Unfortunately, his writings which provide a blueprint for humankind’s collective welfare, are as necessary today as during his four decade literary career, as we seek to figure out why inequality among people remains.