Cornell University is hosting a yearlong celebration of their beloved alumna Toni Morrison M.A. ’55 on the 50th anniversary of “The Bluest Eye.” They have invited Tayari Jones to join them as a panelist for their Feb. 18, 2021, roundtable discussion on Morrison’s creative and scholarly work.
They kicked off their celebration in October 2020 with a community-wide marathon reading of the novel, in which Jones was a participant. Events will continue into the spring and include a reading of Lydia Diamond’s play based on “The Bluest Eye,” community events, reading groups and displays of Morrison’s work and its global impact. In addition, Cornell is offering a new course focused on the novel.
Manhattan School of Music, one of the premier music schools in the United States, announced a roster of 24 Black artists ranging from instrumentalists to educators, authors, activists, composers, and singers to become Artists Scholars.
The illustrious roster includes Pulitzer Prize winning composer Anthony Davis, classical pianist Lara Downes, and novelist Tayari Jones. The Artists Scholars will take part in forums, panels, seminars, discussion groups, collaborations, and mentorship. The role of the Scholars is to relate their experiences and observations about diversity, equity, and inclusion to foster discussion within the MSM Community.
Tayari Jones’s new short story “Half Light” became available as an audiobook only this summer. The story, narrated by Bahni Turpin, is about adult identical twins who embark on a caper of deep personal significance, which takes a fun and interesting turn.
Tayari Jones has been awarded a Civitella Ranieri Writing Fellowship. Located in a 15th century castle in the Umbrian region of Italy, Civitella is a residency program for international writers, composers, and visual artists. Since 1995, Civitella has hosted more than 900 Fellows and Director’s Guests. The Center enables its Fellows to pursue their work and to exchange ideas in a unique and inspiring setting.
Civitella Ranieri Fellowships are awarded through a careful nomination and jury process by a rotating group of distinguished artists, academics, and critics that ensures access to a highly diverse group of emerging and accomplished candidates from around the world.
Each year, the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read initiative brings communities together around the shared activity of reading and discussing a book. On June 16, 2020, the Arts Endowment announced funding for 84 organizations to lead NEA Big Read projects between September 2020 and June 2021, providing a range of activities—in person or virtually—around a book selected from the NEA Big Read library, including Tayari Jones‘s Silver Sparrow.
Visit arts.gov/neabigread for more information about the NEA Big Read, including reader resources—such as book overviews, discussion questions, and interviews with the authors—as well as community stories from past NEA Big Read grantees.
June 13, 2020—”‘I believed I would never catch up’: Bestselling author Tayari Jones reveals the strange magic behind her literary stardom. The literary world is no stranger to fairy tales, but Tayari Jones’s journey from the sidelines to bestselling author beloved of Oprah and Obama is one for the books.”
“How can a novel’s social criticism be so unflinching and clear, yet its plot moves like a house on fire? I am tempted to describe Petry as a magician for the many ways that The Street amazes, but this description cheapens her talent . . . Petry is a gifted artist.” — Tayari Jones, from the Introduction
The Street follows the spirited Lutie Johnson, a newly single mother whose efforts to claim a share of the American Dream for herself and her young son meet frustration at every turn in 1940s Harlem. Opening a fresh perspective on the realities and challenges of black, female, working-class life, The Street became the first novel by an African American woman to sell more than a million copies.
Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones’s 2011 novel, has been printed in the U.K. by Oneworld. According to The Guardian, “This book is as moving, intimate and wise as An American Marriage on the topics of marriage, family and womanhood, and deserves similar acclaim.”
An American Marriage is longlisted for the 2020 International DUBLIN Literary Award. Books are nominated for the Award by invited public libraries in cities throughout the world – making the Award unique in its coverage of international fiction. Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library.
Bill Gates has selected An American Marriage for his favorite books of 2019. “An American Marriage is a deeply moving read about how one incident of injustice reshapes the lives of a black couple in the South,” Gates writes. Though he wouldn’t characterize the novel as a light read, Gates calls it “so well-written that you’ll find yourself sucked into it despite the heavy subject matter.”
The Charles Howard Candler Professorships are awarded to senior scholars who have shown outstanding teaching ability and productive scholarship in one or more fields of learning, and additionally who have distinguished themselves in long and substantial service to the University and in furthering the causes of higher education. Dear Michael Elliot announced Professor Jones’s appointment this afternoon on the campus of Emory University.
Alfred A. Knopf has acquired world rights to a new novel by Tayari Jones, the bestselling author of An American Marriage, her critically acclaimed fourth book. The new novel, OLD FOURTH WARD, will be published simultaneously in hardcover and ebook by Alfred A. Knopf, and in audio by Penguin Random House. Jordan Pavlin, Vice President and Executive Editor at Knopf, acquired the book from Jane Dystel at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
“Tayari Jones is a master chronicler of the times we live in,” said Jordan Pavlin, “a sharp, sophisticated and prodigiously gifted novelist whose works overflow with wisdom, compassion, and love. Few writers write more compellingly about family and identity, or with more empathy for her characters. We are thrilled to publish her on the Knopf list.”
Tayari Jones has been selected as a Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. She will serve from 2019-2025.
In 1965, the Cornell faculty unanimously recommended, and the Board of Trustees approved, a plan “to revive the office of nonresident professor by appointing as Andrew D. White Professors-at-Large a group of individuals, from both America and abroad, who have achieved high international distinction in the various areas of science and scholarship as well as in the learned professions, public affairs, literature, and the creative arts.” In its interdisciplinary scope, encompassing both knowledge and action, this broadened conception embodies Cornell’s unique qualities as a great university.
At any one time, up to twenty outstanding intellectuals from across the globe hold the title of Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large and are considered full members of the Cornell faculty. During the six-year term of appointment, each Professor-at-Large visits campus for about a week in each three-year period while Cornell classes are in session during the academic year. Currently, the Program sponsors up to six visits by different Professors-at-Large per year.
The winner of the 2019 Clara Johnson Award for Women’s Literature is Tayari Jones for her bestselling tour de force An American Marriage. The award was established in 2018 to honor women-authored literature that captures the essence of Johnson in being “groundbreaking, purposeful, bold, excellent, and challenging to social constructs.”
Johnson Award judges were impressed by the literary mastery of Jones’s novel and its rich character development, particularly the fullness of its female characters. Judges also noted the social significance of the work as it examines the impacts of unjust incarceration not only on the incarcerated but also on family and friends.