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Paul Beatty
Paul Beatty

Portrait of an author: Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty is an American poet and novelist

Paul Beatty

American poet and novelist

Last published: The Sellout (Oneworld, 2016)

In Dollscape II, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, and a brown-skinned, egg-shaped Weeble toy were running (and wobbling) through a swampy thicket from a pack of plastic German shepherds leading an armed lynch party comprised of my G.I. Joes hooded in Ku Klux Klan sheets. “What’s that?" I asked, pointing to a small white Christmas ornament that spun slowly over the bog, glittering and sparkling like a disco ball in the afternoon sun.

“That’s the North Star. They’re running toward the North Star. Toward freedom."

I picked up Martin, Malcolm, and Harriet, teasing my dad by asking, “What are these, inaction figures?"

Excerpted from The Sellout

This is the concluding part of a series of portraits selected for Lounge by Rohit Chawla, who has photographed over 200 authors at the Jaipur Literature Festival over a decade. Click here for his views on portraiture.

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