Court In Session, Time For a Joint
Paul Beatty, Thomas Seltzer and Dan Andersen
In 2016, Paul Beatty was the first American to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize, for his novel The Sellout. In the novel, the protagonist Me is in the Supreme Court, accused of reinstating slavery and agitating for the reinstitution of racial segregation as a social measure.
A disturbing and wild history is retold simultaneously with the trial: A black boy (Me) is mistreated by his father, modelled on psychiatric research, in order to prepare him for the harsh world awaiting him in a racist America. A father also known as the Nigger Whisperer, called by local police to get suicidal people in dramatic situations to change their minds by asking questions like “Who am I? And how can I become myself?» It is about an America so steeped in its racist history that race becomes unavoidable, but nobody wants to talk about it, and where there is no end of human oblivion, foolishness and evil.
The Guardian has dubbed Beatty the funniest writer in America. However, the novel is also characterized by an immensely precise language and deadly seriousness. Among the writer’s Norwegian fans is Thomas Seltzer, who will give an introduction about what Beatty’s body of work means to him, before Beatty will meet writer and editor Dan Andersen in conversation.