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Colson Whitehead Appears at Happy Ending Series

Author Colson Whitehead’s critically praised novels look imaginatively at race relations and pop culture.

REPORTER: Whitehead's new novel, Sag Harbor, is a coming-of-age story, and he read from it earlier this week at the Happy Ending Reading Series at Joe’s Pub. His main character, Benji, recalls how childhood haircuts created a bond with his old-fashioned father:

WHITEHEAD: Black barbers the world over, they use electric clippers. These are modern times. In many sectors, technological advances are welcomed and embraced. My father, however, loved his special pair of old-school barber scissors, and we loved them, too, because the sound of the long, thin blades sniping against each other was the sound of his undivided attention.

REPORTER: Happy Ending readers are asked to “take a risk on stage,” so Whitehead also treated the audience at Joe’s Pub to some non-traditional haiku:


I like to work in haiku, so I'm working on a series of haiku inspired by popular television shows. This is about "Starsky and Hutch."

Rooftop to rooftop/Chasing the city's snitches/Is that real leather?


And this is the last one, it's been a long evening, so I'm going to wrap it up. This is about the television show "24."

"24" is a TV show for the age of terror we live in. Release Jack Bauer/Quickly, they reconsider/Arrest Jack Bauer!

REPORTER: Colson Whitehead’s latest novel Sag Harbor will be published on April 28th. The Happy Ending Reading and Music series is at Joe’s Pub the first Wednesday of each month.