Jones Reviews Irving in NYT

“A writer of great imagination, Irving can sell the reader on nearly any plot twist no matter how incredible — from a murderous statue of the Virgin Mary to a pride of anthropomorphized lionesses to a pair of (possibly) paranormal, (definitely) kinky bibliophiles. Under his spell, all of this seems perfectly and irresistibly plausible.” — Tayari Jones on Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving.

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Silver Sparrow Added to the NEA Big Read Library

Jones_T_SilverSparrow_pbk_BigRead_01the National Endowment for the Arts announced that two contemporary novels written by female writers will join the Big Read library—Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones and In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. These novels will be available for organizations hosting a 2016-2017 Big Read project and will further the National Endowment for the Arts’ commitment to expanding the Big Read library by including diverse voices and stories. Application guidelines for 2016-2017 Big Read grants are now available. The deadline is Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 4:00pm CST. – See more at:

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Fellowship of Southern Writers Selects Tayari Jones for Membership

Tayari Jones has been selected for membership into the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Founded in 1987 by a group of writers who met in Chattanooga, the Fellowship of Southern Writers is a nonprofit organization which has for its objective the encouragement of literature in the South.  The FSW achieves its mission by commemorating outstanding literary achievement, encouraging young writers through awards, prizes and fellowships, recognizing distinction in writing by election to membership, and through other appropriate activities.


Affiliated with the Chattanooga Arts & Education Council (AEC) and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the FSW holds its biennial convocation in partnership with the AEC Conference on Southern Literature.  The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Lupton Library houses its archives.

The FSW–formed by twenty-two founding members in 1987–believes that the American South is an identifiable and distinctive cultural and social community, and that the vitality and power of its literature justify recognition and encouragement.  The Fellowship is composed of 50 active members.  New members are nominated by current members and elected by majority vote, and are drawn from among writers of fiction, poetry, drama, criticism, and history.  To be considered for membership a writer must have been born and raised, or have resided for a significant part of his or her life in the South, or have written works that in character and spirit embody aspects of the Southern experience.

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Silver Sparrow Annouced as Featured Title for 2015 “All Henrico Reads”

Henrico Country Public Library has chosen Silver Sparrow for the 2015 “All Henrico Reads,” a community reading program that aims to encourage a sense of community and promote literacy.  Group discussions of Silver Sparrow will be held at public libraries county-wide, culminating with a discussion with Jones on April 1, 2015.

Wednesday, April 1, 7-8:30 pm
(Doors open at 6:15 pm)
Glen Allen High School
10700 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen

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O Magazine Lists Silver Sparrow as an All-Time Favorite in Annual Books of Summer Issue




Why isn’t Jones a household name, and why isn’t this unputdownable book on every must-read list? “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” reveals protagonist Dana in the opening sentence of a novel that is by turns deft, delicate and devastating.

— Leigh Haber

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Silver Sparrow featured in Elle Magazine, April 2014

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Silver Sparrow Named Among the 50 Best Southern Novels Ever Written


The South has begotten some of our nation’s most important authors, including prize winners like William Styron, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison, Harper Lee, and that titan of American letters, William Faulkner. These 50 novels are a reminder that the South cannot be defined solely by its failings; it is also responsible for shaping the minds of countless thinkers who offered to American literature essential insights about not only their region but the world at large. — Flavorwire

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Leaving Atlanta Named as a Best Debut (2000-2009)

Bookpage lists Tayari Jones’s 2002 debut, Leaving Atlanta, as one of the best debuts of the decade.

Which signal the beginnings of a successful career? Which are flashes in the pan? It’s often hard to tell.

With these 25 debuts, however, there was no doubt. These authors astonished right out of the gate with strong storytelling prowess and memorable voices. Read on for our list of the best debuts from the century’s first decade: 2000-2009.

full list here

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Tayari Jones to Receive Inaugural Girls Write Now Award

NEW YORK, NY – Girls Write Now (GWN), New York’s first and only writing and mentoring program for high school girls, celebrates its 15th Anniversary with the launch of the Girls Write Now Awards. This annual event will honor women whose lives and work inspire girls every day to find their voices and tell their stories. Novelist Tayari Jones; advertising executive Emma Cookson; and director, producer, and author Tamra Davis will receive the 2013 awards in New York City on Tuesday, May 7, at 632 on Hudson. With these awards, Girls Write Now recognizes three outstanding women who are role models for girls in their dedication to hard work and craft; commitment to honest, fearless storytelling; and creative leadership in a world where the stories of women and girls are often dismissed or invisible.

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Brazos Valley Reads Chooses Leaving Atlanta

Brazos Valley Reads (BVR) is a community effort organized by Texas A&M University’s Department of English with extensive support from various groups in the university and the community. It was started to encourage bridge building between Texas A&M’s students and staff and the Brazos Valley community at large. For the past several years, BVR has invited internationally recognized authors including Ernest Gaines, Sandra Cisneros, Gish Jen, Tim O’Brien, and Sherman Alexie to College Station for a literary event and to meet with local high school students. In Spring 2011, BVR partnered with the National Book Foundation to support the launch of BookupTexas, a literacy program serving middle school aged children.

Leaving Atlanta, Tayari Jones’ 2002 debut novel, is the 2013 selection.  She will travel to College Station, Texas to participate in a number of literary events on April 1-3.  More details here.

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