Tag Archives: Alice Walker

Joan Lester draws on her background for Mama’s Child

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In 1962, when Joan Steinau Lester was 19 years old and living in New England, she fell in love with a young African-American writer. Her family disapproved, so the idealistic young woman ran off to New York City to join her boyfriend. The young couple married six months later — an act that was illegal in 27 states – and eventually had a son and a daughter.

Raising two biracial children in a world that still regarded segregation as matter of course was not easy, but as the Civil Rights movement gained momentum, prompting a breakdown of racial barriers, society grew more tolerant. Today, one out of every 12 marriages is made up of people of two different races, according to the 2010 census. There are 4.2 million biracial children in the U.S. … Continue reading »

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Marc Kelly dishes on the story behind Berkeley’s Soop

Red lentil soupL In demand with new moms
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As mid-life crises go, Marc Kelly’s was a pretty productive one — with a little spice thrown in for good measure.

Seeking change after a 20-year career in the fruit and vegetable export business, Kelly was keen to open a food joint of his own. Something modest and manageable, a takeaway place that satisfied his culinary aspirations and cravings.

That’s how Soop, one of the original anchor businesses in the Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden, came about.

Kelly, a self-taught chef, determined that soup was an unexplored market niche in the edible landscape. He sensed an opportunity. Six years into serving up soup every day, Kelly’s enthusiasm for the comfort food he sells is still apparent.

He has a loyal band of regulars — Kelly sees them coming and knows which ladle to reach for. And his years of global travel inform what he sells: every culture has a soup tradition and on the road he learned the universal language of soup. … Continue reading »

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Michael Chabon calls himself overrated

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Michael Chabon may be the best-known writer living in Berkeley (although other Pulitzer Prize winners, like Alice Walker, have lived here at times). He certainly is among the most-respected.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Chabon recently about the Bay Area literary life, which Chabon called a “vibrant, fun scene, and much less of a pressure cooker than New York.”

New Yorkers are too consumed by status, said Chabon. “That interconnectedness allows information to flow fast. Who got … Continue reading »

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