Who He Is...
The man is having a phenomenally prolific writing life. He has written screenplays, radio scripts, television (here and in Ghana, West Africa), stage plays, newspaper columns, short story collections and thirty (published) novels. He may not be “famous”, but he has received critical acceptance on several fronts. In January 2011, he was one of the panelists (Wanda Coleman, Emory Holmes, Dr. Roland Jefferson, and Professor Justin Gifford) at the Modern Language Association Conference at the Hilton, LA Live.
In March 2016, he was a participant in a California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) event, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the “Watts Rebellion” that is usually labeled “a riot”. Mr. Hawkins has agreed to let this university archive his works. He continues to tell us who he is. . .
“Sweet Peter Deeder”, an epic of his earliest street lit. novels will be re-issued in 2021. (You can purchase an e-book at BookBaby.) “Sweet Peter Deeder was followed by “Sweet Peter Deeder aka Mr. Sweets”. The last of the “Sweet Series” is “Lil’ Sweets”. Mr. Hawkins was given the “Undergroundmaster” title by a constituency who’ve followed his literary tracks since 1972, when “Ghetto Sketches” was first published by Holloway House Publishing Company
Currently: “Ancestral Meridians”, an acupunctural novel; “Solitary”, a lonely story; “Urban Nomads and Other Stories” – a collection of short stories; and “The Snake, 20/20” have kept him busy.
“I feel close to what “Urban Nomads” is about because I’ve been homeless and foodless a few times in my life. It’s kind of crazy, the weird humor that can surface – under those circumstances.”
What He Does...
He is one of the few original members of the world famed Watts Writers’ Workshop (founded by Budd Schulberg). “Ghetto Sketches”, his first published novel (Holloway House Publishing Co.) is on the required reading list (May 2010) of Professor Justin Gifford’s University of Nevada/ Department of English.
[Dr. Margaret Burroughs made “Ghetto Sketches” required reading for her students at Kennedy-King College in 1973]
Odie Hawkins, a pioneer in literary Afrikanity, takes great pride for being the originator of the Pan-African Occult genre, as exemplified by “The Snake”, “Snake Doctor” and “Shackles Across Time”, “The Snake, 20/20”. His books may be accessed on this website and through your local bookstores.
A few words from the Undergroundmaster himself . . .
“A few years ago some fans of mine began to call me “the Undergroundmaster”. Of course I was curious about why they would stick such an interesting title on me. They explained…”It’s because you’re out here with all of these books’n stuff, and you’re not famous”.
The only problem I had with their designation is that I’ve never equated being a world class writer with being “famous”. I would rather be a world class writer than just another “famous” writer.
How He Does It...
He writes every day, except Sunday. But there are many Sundays when he writes too.
Early in the game he discovered that procrastination could gradually defeat creativity. So, he doesn’t mess around, he writes.
He has been questioned about his body of works (the short story collections, the novels, the screen plays, the radio scripts, the newspaper columns, the plays, the essays, etc.) – “How is it possible for you to have so many works in so many different genres?” His answer is always the same – “My head is in a lot of different places. I’ve never been bored in my life, and so long as I can think rationally and write an interesting piece. I will never be bored. Nor will I intentionally inflict boredom on anyone else.”
How does he do it? How does he prevent boredom from playing any role in his life? Let’s give the “Undergroundmaster” a shot at explaining what it’s all about.
“I’m not an early riser, but I can tell you this, whenever I wake up, place my feet over the edge of the bed, I clap my hands together with joy — and call out loud, ‘Show time!’ and from that point onward, it’s on!
I love this life of mine.”