Literary Birthday – 29 July – Chester Himes


Chester Himes was born 29 July 1909 and died 12 November 1984

Six Quotes

  1. I would sit in my room and become hysterical about the wild incredible story I was writing. And I thought I was writing realism. It never occurred to me that I was writing absurdity. Realism and absurdity are so similar in the lives of American blacks one cannot tell the difference.
  2. Man cannot live without some knowledge of the purpose of life. If he can find no purpose in life he creates one in the inevitability of death.
  3. The Harlem of my books was never meant to be real; I never called it real; I just wanted to take it away from the white man if only in my books.
  4. American violence is public life, it’s a public way of life, it became a form, a detective story form. So I should think that any number of black writers should go into the detective story form.
  5. There is an indomitable quality within the human spirit that cannot be destroyed; a face deep within the human personality that is impregnable to all assaults.
  6. Martyrs are needed to create incidents. Incidents are needed to create revolutions. Revolutions are needed to create progress.

Chester Himes was an American writer. His works include If He Hollers Let Him Go and the Harlem Detective series. He won France’s Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in 1958.

Source for image

by Amanda Patterson