Attica Locke and Esi Edugyan, in conversation: ‘There is so much of our existence that has not been heard’

American author Locke and Canadian novelist Edugyan discuss writing about marginal lives, slavery and Locke’s upcoming Netflix show with Ava DuVernay

When Esi Edugyan’s forthcoming novel Washington Black was announced last week as one of this year’s Man Booker longlisted titles, it was the Canadian author’s second Booker appearance. She was shortlisted in 2011 for Half Blood Blues, her second novel, about a mixed-race jazz musician at the outbreak of the second world war. The latest book, telling the story of a young boy named George Washington Black, or “Wash”, who grows up a slave on a plantation in Barbados, taps into a wider movement in North American literature exploring the history and legacy of slavery.

Attica Locke also addressed slavery in her 2012 novel, The Cutting Season, in the surreal setting of a southern plantation turned into a tourist destination. Her latest novel, Bluebird, Bluebird, ...