Kathleen Collins made the feature film, LOSING GROUND, in 1982, and died a few years later at age 46 from breast cancer. It’s a sexy, intellectual film about a black philosophy professor and her Latino artist husband, and it was never released. Her daughter, Nina Collins, had the film restored a few years ago with the intention of preserving it for academia, and she struck a distribution deal with Milestone Films for that purpose. After languishing for a couple more years, Milestone arranged for the film to premiere at Lincoln Center as part of a film festival on NYC black independent film, and then everyone was astonished and delighted when the film met with tremendous, startling acclaim. The New Yorker called it a “lost masterwork;” A.O. Scott’s piece on the film took up the entire above-the-fold front page of the Arts section of The New York Times. The film premiered at Lincoln Center, played for three sold out weeks, and has gone to play at art houses all over the country and will soon start playing abroad. It premiered on October 22 on cable channel TCM as part of a “Trailblazing Women Directors” series.
Kathleen Collins’ posthumous short story collection, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? was published in the US by Ecco in December 2016 and was followed by Granta in the UK in February 2017.
Praise for Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?:
‘From the first page you know you’re in the hands of an exceptional writer, and this would be an undiluted joy if not for the fact Kathleen Collins’ voice was never fully heard in her own lifetime. To be this good and yet to be ignored is shameful, but her rediscovery is a great piece of luck, for us. Collins’ stories are passionate and light-footed, angry but also delicate – they move like quicksilver, conjuring up character, theme and situation in a couple of pages. She edits precisely – like the film maker she was – and she’s deliciously funny. She speaks of the many-sided lives of black women with care and intelligence. I adored this book’ — Zadie Smith
“Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?,” is ..a multidimensional revelation whose invisibility until now is as grievous a loss to literature as the near-disappearance of “Losing Ground” has been to the world of movies.. Collins delves deep into modern history and personal experience to yield, in calm yet prismatic phrases, urgent and deeply affecting insights into her times, which echo disturbingly today, in light of their long-delayed publication’ — The New Yorker
‘There is an impressive balance of candidness and lyricism in these stories…Collins was a contemporary of Alice Walker and Jamaica Kincaid, and we should make room for her in the literary canon; “Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?” is evidence that this space would be much deserved.’ — The New York Times
‘The stories of Kathleen Collins are sharp, tender, and precise – full of wit and pleasure. Reading her feels like eavesdropping on an electric historical moment from a secret perch just above the kitchen table. I lost myself in these stories with a sense of wrestling and delight, grateful for the crackles and surprises they continually delivered’ — Leslie Jamison
‘These stories offer a sharp, clear, unsentimental vision of race in the sixties, the mingling of politics and desire, the search for place that will be both exotic and familiar to modern readers, richly historical and utterly recognizable.’ — Katie Roiphe
‘Kathleen Collins has the dramatist’s gift for multiple voices and viewpoints… How well she understands mixed motives, emotions and bloodlines. Histories and legacies at cross-purposes. Elective and compulsive affinities, both intellectual and erotic. How unlucky we were to lose her. And how lucky we are to have these stories.’ — Margo Jefferson
‘This book is one of the most eloquent statements I have read of what it was like to be black and young and alive in the 1960s. I applaud its publication.’ –Vivian Gornick