woman leaning against a brick wall in a white jacket

A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

woman leaning against a brick wall in a white jacket

Nearly 20 years ago, I was working as the managing editor of Crains’ New York, and keeping my creative writing life alive by taking workshops. I’d wrap up that high-intensity journalism job, leave the office on Third Avenue and walk through Central Park toward my writing instructor’s apartment. When I entered that broad open expanse in the midst of the city, I felt my spirits lift, and I remembered how big life can be.

The writing teacher was novelist Lore Segal; I met one of my dearest friends in that workshop, Adrian Spratt. The story he presented, that autumn in New York, was about how true friendship requires seeing other people in many lights at once. Black, or brown, or a woman, or man, gay or straight, disabled, whatever – these are aspects of a person. What is a full portrait?

Adrian has a rare perspective on that question, as a person who lost his physical sight in his early teens. I use words and phrases like that – “blind,” “see,” “sight,”– with more thought after these years of knowing Adrian and reading his work.

When I launched Times of E, he invested in the company, and as the pandemic closed in on us, he invested again. I was profoundly grateful for the votes of confidence, mostly because I know him to be a brilliant attorney and investor.

Adrian’s fiction is forceful, thoughtful and plot-driven. One reason I value his fiction so much on a deeper level is because it insists that readers see characters’ complexities, and that readers see characters with disabilities in that same, complicated light.

His first novel, Caroline, is out now. I loved it – and so did Kirkus. “Spratt, himself a blind lawyer, presents a remarkable portrayal of the life of a sightless New Yorker … a searing look at a troubled relationship.” Here’s the link to buy it.

This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

A business journalist for 20 years, am the founder of Times of Entrepreneurship and the co-author of The New Builders.