Though he was living in Italy when it was written, William Demby’s first novel, Beetlecreek (1950), is set in the West Virginia of his childhood. Expanding on “St. Joey,” a short story Demby had first written while a student at Fisk, Beetlecreek is a novel of race relations in a remote West Virginia town.
His second novel, The Catacombs, was published in 1965 and was not immediately received or understood by critics. The novel is written in an avant-garde style that involves a narrator who is a novelist (who like the author is an African-American living in Rome) writing a novel contrasting the lives of an African nun and a sensuous model and actress romantically involved with a European aristocrat. Demby’s third novel, Love Story Black, was written and published after his return to the United States.
Demby published his fourth novel, Blueboy, in 1979, but Beetlecreek remains his best-known and most-admired work.
Love Story Black
Founder: Ronald Sukenick
Publisher: Jeffrey R. Di Leo
Editor: Jeffrey R. Di Leo
Managing Editor: Jeffrey A. Sartain
Assistant Editor: Lauren Pirosko
Publisher Emeritus: Charles B. Harris
Associate Editors: Charles Alexander, Mark Amerika, R.M. Berry, Dagoberto Gilb, C. S. Giscombe, Charles Johnson, Cris Mazza, Larry McCaffery, Christina Milletti, Doug Nufer, Kevin Prufer, John Tytell, Barry Wallenstein, Tom Williams, Eric Miles Williamson
Contributing Editors: Rudolfo Anaya, Ron Arias, John Ashbery, Michael Bérubé, Rosellen Brown, Andrei Codrescu, William Demby, Rikki Ducornet, William Gass, Joseph D. Haske, Russell Hoover, Steve Katz, Clarence Major, Carole Maso, Michael McClure, Joyce Carol Oates, Daniel T. O'Hara, Marjorie Perloff, Robert Peters, Corinne Robins, Charles Russell, Paul Schiavo, Barry Seiler, Charles Simic, Bruce Sterling, Regina Weinreich