Destiny O. Birdsong is the author of the novel NOBODY’S MAGIC.
TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?
DOB: I wrote my book about Black women with albinism because I wanted to see myself depicted in literature as a fully-fleshed out human being. Not as a punchline, or a warning, or the result of taboo behavior, but as a person with goals, dreams, and challenges that extend beyond my condition. The idea for a book began with a conversation with a friend about African American romance novelists who often create characters that fit very traditional standards of Black beauty: fair skin, long hair, thin bodies — bodies that often differ from those of the authors themselves. I remember telling her that I’d never want to live through a female character whose body doesn’t look like mine because, for me, the stakes are much higher. Denying my own body on the page potentially means confirming the notion that my body is not good enough to be written about. At that moment, my first fictional character was born.
TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?
DOB: The last book I’ve read that I keep talking about is a collection of essays called Like Love by Michele Morano. It’s such a smart premise: an exploration of love relationships that are not romantic. And the chapters are so fascinating: discussing relationships with passing strangers, neighbors, and her mother. It’s a really good book.
TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?
DOB: The first one I remember reading was my illustrated children’s Bible, which was probably given to me by my mother. My favorite story was about Joshua making the sun stand still long enough to win a battle, which probably speaks to my lifelong struggle with procrastination.
Catch Destiny O. Birdsong on Saturday, November 5 at the State Capitol E2.014 from 11:00 – 11:45 at the 2022 Texas Book Festival!