Faith Ringgold’s Tar Beach (1991)

Faith Ringgold’s Tar Beach (1991)

Ringgold’s tapestry Tar Beach (1988) and her children’s story Tar Beach (1991) portray classic rooftop entertainment. When Cassie Lightfoot flies over the rooftops of Harlem, the lights of the George Washington Bridge glow against the black sky like...
Faith Ringgold’s Church Picnic  (1988)

Faith Ringgold’s Church Picnic (1988)

Faith Ringgold’s Church Picnic Story Quilt (1988)  is a painted quilt that portrays the Freedom Baptist Church Sunday School picnic.  Picnic cloths are spread out on the grass and families sit in separate groups eating the foods they have totted along. The children...
Jim Crace’s Being Dead (1999)

Jim Crace’s Being Dead (1999)

Crace’s combination of an awful  picnic and murder is not your average picnic. But Being Dead’s readers often find it so appealing they search for Baritone Bay, the place where the central characters are murdered.  There is no telling where they search...
John Fowles’s The Ebony Tower (1984)

John Fowles’s The Ebony Tower (1984)

Fowles’s The Ebony Tower bears the imprint of Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe. Though we’ll never know what Manet’s picnickers are discussing, Fowles provides some context and conversation Like Manet’s picnickers, Fowles’s men are clothed, and...
Fernando Arrabal’s Picnic on the Battlefield (1959)

Fernando Arrabal’s Picnic on the Battlefield (1959)

The big idea in Arrabal’s Picnic on the Battlefield is the stupidity of war. * Originally Pique-nique en campagne, the title was changed for American readers. The play is Aligned with the Absurdists, such as Beckett and Ionesco. Arrabal was a founder (among...
Henry Louis Gates’s, Jr.’s Colored People: A Memoir (1994)

Henry Louis Gates’s, Jr.’s Colored People: A Memoir (1994)

  Piedmont, West Virginia, where Gates spent his youth, was a segregated town where most of the inhabitants worked at a Westvaco paper mill. Though Gates looks fondly at the company picnic scheduled to close in 1969 or 1970, the event is bittersweet. It’s...
Elizabeth David’s A Book of Mediterranean Food (1951)

Elizabeth David’s A Book of Mediterranean Food (1951)

David’s favorite picnic food is tian. She asserts that it’s simple for the experienced cook, especially if you have a tian, the Provençal earthenware casserole it is cooked in. You also need freshly baked bread, butter, cheese, and wine. David’s...

Elizabeth David’s Summer Cooking (1955/65)

David’s books are suffused with references to picnics. She could be informal or according to her whims, something she adopted from her youth, which she wrote about in Summer Cooking, “Picnic addicts  [like herself] seem to be roughly divided between those...
Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose (1971)

Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose (1971)

Stegner uses picnic to contradict the expectation of the good times the word usually denotes. According to her grandson Lyman Ward, who is writing her life story, Susan Burling’s marriage to Oliver Ward was no picnic. She gave up a promising career as an illustrator...