Tayari Jones has assumed exciting new roles in two arts organizations.
Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) seeks to educate the imagination by offering innovative creative writing programs for students and teachers, and by providing a variety of publications and resources to support learning through the literary arts. T&W programs include writing workshops for students, professional development for educators, managing the New York Poetry Out Loud competition, and publishing Teachers & Writers Magazine and other resources about the teaching of creative writing.
The Center for Southern Literary Arts cultivates the rich and diverse stories of the Memphis region and encourages and supports innovations in the literary arts. Through community programs, education initiatives, artist residencies, and creative economic development, the CSLA expands beyond the traditional boundaries of the literary arts to capture and reclaim stories as a pathway to repair, equity, and justice in the city, the South, and the nation.
The Diana L. Bennett Fellows Program at UNLV’s Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute (BMI) awards Tayari Jones a fellowship for the academic year 2017-18. She will be in residence in Las Vegas to accept this opportunity and begin work on her fifth novel. Each year, BMI offers the Bennett Fellowship to three critically acclaimed writers who, for one or two semesters, contribute to the cultural landscape of UNLV and the larger Las Vegas community. Jones is the 2017-18 Shearing Fellow. More.
The cover of Tayari Jones’s new novel, An American Marriage, is revealed today on Entertainment Weekly. Read an excerpt.
“People who don’t know Atlanta don’t understand the codes and contradictions of the New South. Yes, Margaret Mitchell imagined the plantation Tara within the city limits, but it’s also the home of OutKast. Atlanta has captured the imagination of trash TV with Todd Chrisley’s magnolia-cream accent but also the decidedly urban antics of Love & Hip Hop. The ashes of the Civil War still hang in the air, but immigration is turning the South into the Global South.
With Atlanta Noir, my hope was to find the writers who could show the city in all of its dizzy complexity. These fourteen writers represent the city’s many neighborhoods and demographics—from the Southern punk scene of Little Five Points to the Junior League world of Peachtree City, where things are not always as they seem. There is more going on at the local Waffle House than just scattering, smothering, and chunking. This is a major international city but it’s still the Bible Belt. A megapreacher’s past catches up with him, and gentrification cannot tame the outlaw spirit of the city too busy to hate. Our airport boasts that it is the busiest in the world; locals declare that even on the way to heaven, you have to change planes at Hartsfield-Jackson. Let us think of Atlanta Noir as an after-hours welcome to the city where we serve our sweet tea with a shot of bourbon.”
The following organizations received grants from the NEA Big Read to plan programming around Silver Sparrow. Dates and times will be posted on this “Appearances” page.
Black Storytellers of San Diego, Chula Vista, California
Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, New York
Chatanooga State Community College, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Essex County Library Directors, Newark, New Jersey
Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Charlotesville, Virginia
Peoria Public Library, Peoria, Illinoiis
Troy University Rosa Parks Library, Montgomery, Alabama
“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.
The 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: https://www.arts.gov/news/2015/national-endowment-arts-announces-new-additions-big-read-library
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.