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      William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

David Miller

Ticket to Exile:
A Memoir

About the Author

Adam David Miller has worked in northern California for four decades as a teacher, writer, poet, editor, publisher, and radio and television producer.

About the Book

At age nineteen, A. D. Miller sat in a jail cell. His crime? He passed a white girl a note that read, “I would like to get to know you better.” For this he was accused of attempted rape.

Ticket to Exile recounts Miller’s coming-of-age in Depression-era Orangeburg, South Carolina. A closet rebel who successfully evades the worst strictures of a racially segregated small town, Miller reconstructs the sights, sounds, and social complexities of the pre–civil rights South. By the time he is forced into exile, we realize that this fate was inevitable for a young man too intelligent and aware of the limitations of his society to remain there without disastrous consequences.

Critics / Reviews

"Most black men don't reach sixty, and so, in a sense, Adam David Miller has lived two lifetimes. He's someone we should listen to. For many years he has cultivated a prose style as carefully as one would cultivate a fine wine. This hard work has paid off. The result is a memoir that ranks with the best written by Americans. In fact, I would place it on the shelf next to Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery, James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and Haki Madhubuti's Yellow Black"
Ishmael Reed

Growing up in Depression-era South Carolina, African-American writer, poet and teacher Miller knew that white people could, if they wished, do anything to black people for any reason. This eloquent, melancholy memoir puts the truth to that sentiment, beginning with Miller s imprisonment, at age 19, for passing a friendly note to a white girl. Facing charges of attempted rape, Miller tells his life story in flashback, hoping to find what had brought me to this point. Mired in poverty but blessed with hope in the form of education, religion and each other Miller s family moved often, putting him in 13 different homes by the time he was 19. Each chapter opens with an original poem worthy of their own volume before performing a skillful act of time-travel: Miller s memories are so vibrant that he could be describing incidents from last month, despite the fact that he s not told anyone about his episode behind bars for 57 years. Complete in its portrait of a struggling Southern family and undeniably powerful in its portrayal of racial injustice, Miller captures a time and a place with resonance, honesty and wisdom.
Publisher's Weekly Web Exclusive Reviews:Nonfiction, 12/3/07

 

 


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