Q&A: Colson Whitehead Talks Gritty New York, Zone One Zombies, and Frank Ocean's Sexuality

The writer celebrates his paperback release and reads tonight at Book Court.

I know you're a square, but are you familiar with Frank Ocean? What did you think about the letter he posted where he opened up about his sexuality?
I'd seen his name in headlines, but hadn't heard his music. I was moved, though. I was thinking there's probably some closeted hip-hop guys who are like, "Damn, that guy did it. I wish I could've done it. Is it too late? Could I get a press conference or something?" Could it have been done five years ago? One year ago? I think it's such a unique time. I don't know anything about him, but it seemed very heartening and people who were fans of him were moved, which was a nice thing.

Zombie fanatic Whitehead
Frank Lojciechowski
Zombie fanatic Whitehead
Paperback out today via Anchor Books
Paperback out today via Anchor Books

I have pretty long hair. Could you give me any tips on how to stay cool in this heatwave?
[Laughs.] I grew up not having A/C. But last week, after July 4, I saw it was supposed to be 98, so I went out and got an air conditioner. I was like, I can't take care of my daughter. This is cruel and unusual punishment. So we just spent the last few days holed up, watching Adventure Time with the A/C on.

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