NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 9


From King Comus : William Demby ’ s Final Novel

By William Demby with an introduction by Ishmael Reed author of The Complete Muhammad Ali
William Demby was unsuccessful in having his last novel , King Comus , published while he was alive . This would not have been the case in the 1960s and 70s , when literary editors had some say so about which manuscripts would be published . This was why Demby ’ s great novel , The Catacombs was published .
I had lunch this year in New York with my agent and member of the former breed . She was the editor who invited me to write The Complete Muhammad Ali . About a year after the contracts were signed , she was fired even though she had had a distinguished career and was the editor for the late Jacqueline Kennedy . She talked about how she and others of her generation had been forced out of publishing by millennials — young people who can afford to live in New York — whose only concern is the bottom line .