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Writes of Passage : Coming-of-Age Stories from The Hudson Review

Collected from twenty-five years of The Hudson Review, these pieces by both emerging writers and established storytellers—including Elizabeth Spencer, William Trevor, and Tennessee Williams—were first published in the magazine based on their own merits, without regard to a developing genre.

But the editors became aware of a unifying theme through the magazine’s Writers in the Schools program, which brought many of these works to students in Harlem high schools. It became clear during lively and revealing classroom discussions how many of these stories and memoirs addressed the students’ own experiences and conflicts about coming of age as they learned the true value of integrating the lessons of literature into their own lives. Their enthusiasm, and that of their teachers, became the impetus for this collection.

Writes of Passage has now become a textbook in colleges and in similar Writers in the Schools programs in other cities.

Robert Schultz’s ‘Hardball’...may seem a classic for males’ coming of age... For what is baseball, as Schultz learns it from his father, if not the perfect rite of passage, which requires discipline, responsibility, and acceptance of ‘time-honored conventions’? But...the real coming of age depends on rejecting the ritual’s lesson. When at the critical moment Schultz refuses what his father has taught him, he finds ‘a small coal of pride began to glow’ because he ‘had hit upon a value of my own, subversive and true.’

– Dean Flower, introduction to Writes of Passage

Critical Praise

These are wonderful stories for all ages—coming or going.

– Lily Tuck, author of News from Paraguay, a National Book Award Winner

These beautifully crafted and moving stories speak volumes to my students year after year—they see their own lives, their dreams, and their immediate concerns in these timely works. Writes of Passage should be a required anthology for all high school students. The stories inside this precious book will get teachers and students thinking, speaking, and feeling.

– Afonso S. Albergaria, Jr., English teacher, The Young Women's Leadership School

I've been reading The Hudson Review regularly for twenty years, and though the literary criticism makes me think and the poetry makes me hum, it's really these stories and memoirs I find unforgettable. Readers who pick up Writes of Passion are in for a treat: The best writing they've seen in a long time, and tales they'll remember for years.

– Susan Balée, literary critic

Here is a book aimed at the very thing I aim to measure: the process of triumph.

– Saul Williams, slam poet, actor, and author of The Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip Hop