W.D. Foster-Graham is a native son of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and an alumnus of Minneapolis Central High School’s Class of 1970. A graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, he received a B.A. in psychology, with a minor in Black studies. He is an original member of the 3-time Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Sounds of Blackness, and has been recognized by the International Society of Poets as one of its “Best New Poets of 2003.” In keeping with his roots in south Minneapolis, he is an active member of St. Peter’s AME Church.
Retired from the field of teaching in Minneapolis Public Schools, he considered it the most rewarding experience of his working career. Currently, he is a guest columnist for journalist and entrepreneur Wyatt O’Brian Evans from Washington, D.C.
As a 5-time published independent author, Foster-Graham’s Christopher Family Novel series graces the shelves of many public library system collections in Minnesota. His passion for writing was inspired at an early age by his father, who read voraciously; in his words, his father was his “Number One fan and biggest critic.” His tastes in writing run to historical fiction, family sagas, and romance, seasoned with his own brand of African American flavor—at the end of the day, it’s all about the love. He shamelessly admits to a love of romance novels, whodunits, and classic movies of old Hollywood. When not in writer’s mode, he loves travel on the open road and time with his husband and son.
He received inspiration from the late novelists E. Lynn Harris and Toni Morrison. One of his favorite quotes from Toni Morrison is, “If there is a story you wish to read, and it hasn’t been written yet, then you must be the one to write it.”
Driven by the need to read about characters who looked like him, address the stereotypical portrayals where they existed, and his experiences with Publishing While Black, set Foster-Graham on the road to independent publishing, starting with his first novel, Mark My Words: A Christopher Family Novel. In the process, he discovered that Black independent authors encompass three of Kwanzaa’s seven principles: Kuumba (Creativity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), and Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics).
As book review editor, Foster-Graham firmly believes that representation matters, and supporting Black authors (especially local Black authors) is an imperative. Recognizing the importance of reviews for authors, his column, Sharing Our Stories, will bring light to the unique voices of new and established Black authors, and his reviews will run the gamut of fiction and non-fiction. He also believes that there are no “aspiring writers”: once you write, you are a writer. A writer’s gifts will make room for him/her/them.
He is honored to become part of the Insight News team, and he leaves you, the reader, with the following: “Believe in dreams and never give up.”