Award Winning Novelist Tayari Jones to Speak at WSSU on Sept. 7

Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones
September 5, 2012

Award-winning novelist Tayari Jones will speak at Winston-Salem State University at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 7, in 228 Hall-Patterson Building for a presentation that will be free and open to the public.

Jones, who will be in Winston-Salem for the BOOKMARKS festival, which begins on Sept. 8, has written three novels.  Her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, was set during the city’s infamous child murders of 1979-81.  Jones herself was in the fifth grade when thirty African American children were murdered from the neighborhoods near her home and school.  This coming of age story received several awards and accolades including the Hurston/Wright Award for Debut Fiction.  It was named “Novel of the Year” by Atlanta Magazine and “Best Southern Novel of the Year,” by Creative Loafing Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution and The Washington Post both listed it as one of the best of 2002.

When her second novel, The Untelling, was published in 2005, Essence magazine called Jones, “a writer to watch.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution proclaims Jones to be “one of the best writers of her generation.” In 2005, The Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries awarded The Untelling the Lillian C. Smith Award for New Voices.

Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, The University of Iowa, and Arizona State University.  She has taught at Prairie View A&M University, East Tennessee State University, The University of Illinois and George Washington University.  

Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, where she received a Board of Trustees Award for Scholarly Excellence, the Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, and Leader in Faculty Diversity Award. Her work has been supported by The National Endowment for the Arts and The United States Artists Foundation and the arts councils of Arizona and Illinois. She spent the 2011-12 academic year at Harvard University as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, researching her forthcoming novel, Dear History.

Silver Sparrow, her third novel, which was published in 2011 by Algonquin Books, was selected by Library Journal, O MagazineSlate and Salon as being among the best of the year.  It has also been featured in O MagazineVoguePoets and Writers and NPR’s All Things Considered.   To promote the title, Jones has embarked upon a national tour with more than 50 appearances.  In addition to being chosen by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as an Honor Book, Silver Sparrow was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and is a finalist for the Huston/Wright Legacy Award.



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