Tayari Jones biography

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Tayari Jones
Photo: Nina Subin

Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones Biography

New York Times best-selling author, Tayari Jones, is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was added to the NEA Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University.

Tayari Jones's website

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Interview

This Is a Love Story, an essay by Tayari Jones in which she explains the backstory to her novel An American Marriage

All my life I have lived in a world where the men are under siege. When I was a little girl, there was a serial killer in Atlanta who killed thirty black children, most of them boys, two from my school. I was so shaken by this experience that it became the subject of my first novel. When I was in high school, it was fashionable for adults to refer to the boys of my generation as an "endangered species." There are lulls in this fear. But then, as regular as a solar eclipse, there will be a reminder. Maybe it will be personal, like riding in a car with a boyfriend and suddenly blue lights strobe from the car behind us. Sometimes it will be more symbolic than deadly, like the arrest of decorated Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates because he was thought to be burglarizing his own home. Other times, there is a shooting at the hands of police, a neighbor, or a total stranger. No matter where I am, the threat looms — either right in front of me or hiding in my peripheral vision.

In 2011 I was awarded a research fellowship at Harvard. I was a woman on a mission to make a difference. I wanted to write a novel about the tribulations of the innocent men who languish in America's prisons. I watched documentaries, read ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Tayari Jones at BookBrowse
An American Marriage jacket Silver Sparrow jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Tayari Jones but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Jamel Brinkley

    Jamel Brinkley

    Jamel Brinkley's stories have appeared in A Public Space, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellow. He lives in Madison, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    An American Marriage

    Try:
    A Lucky Man
    by Jamel Brinkley

  • Curtis Dawkins

    Curtis Dawkins

    Curtis Dawkins grew up in rural Illinois and earned an MFA in fiction writing at Western Michigan University. He has struggled with alcohol and substance abuse through most of his life and, during a botched home robbery, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    An American Marriage

    Try:
    The Graybar Hotel
    by Curtis Dawkins

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