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BESSIE SMITH

Jackie Kay

  • Original Title: BESSIE SMITH
  • Publication date: October 1997
  • Publisher: Absolute Press
  • Country: GB
  • 160 print pages
  • Biopics

Information

  • Epoch: Historical
  • Time Period: 20th century
  • Location setting: United States
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Looking back on one's life, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Discriminations, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social climbing, Commitment, CHARACTERS, Strong Female Character

Pitch

A biography of blues singer Bessie Smith, who influenced countless artists, from Janis Joplin to Billie Holiday, and had a huge impact on the poet Jackie Kay.

Comments

To be re-published by Faber & Faber, on February 2021

The book was first published in the UK in the late 1990s by a small press, but hasn’t been published elsewhere, so this is the first time the book will be on international radars.

Jackie Kay is the National Poet of Scotland and has won the Scottish First Book of the Year (1992, for THE ADOPTION PAPERS) and the Guardian Fiction Prize (2000, for TRUMPET).

Summary

A biography of blues singer Bessie Smith, who influenced countless artists, from Janis Joplin to Billie Holiday, and had a huge impact on the poet Jackie Kay.

Bessie Smith was certainly the greatest blues singer who lived and probably one of the greatest and most influential singers of the twentieth century. Her blues songs mirrored her tempestuous life as she travelled across America performing and making records, taking both male and female lovers, achieving great wealth and stardom until her eventual decline during the years of the depression. She died in a car crash in 1937 aged 43.

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