Tayari Jones—author, professor, and griot of the American South—has a lot on her plate. She teaches a creative writing class at Emory University, she has book blurbs due and forewords to file, and she has words in a just-released craft book, How We Do It, where her Emory colleague Jericho Brown gathered Black writers to explain “how they go about making what they make.” “I know I have a novel,” Jones writes, “when I have a question to which I don’t know the moral/ethical answer.” She is also putting the finishing touches on her fifth and forthcoming novel, Old Fourth Ward, which is set squarely in Black Atlanta’s centers of gravity: the historic neighborhood adjacent to downtown Atlanta (and the book’s namesake) and Cascade Heights (her old stomping grounds).
How several Atlantans build community through storytelling and literature, including YATL's Kimberly Jones and Vania Stoyanova, A Cappella's Frank Reiss, Charis's E.R. Anderson, and more.
In 1988, some of the most important Black women in American literature posed for a photo at Spelman. Here’s how it came about.
In 1988, a group of writers gathered on the steps of Spelman College’s Rockefeller Fine Arts building to fete Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, who, that weekend, had become the college’s first Black woman president. We had just gotten out of a wonderful program honoring Dr. Cole and Black women in the arts. People were talking, laughing, and greeting each other . . . Everybody was high off the charge of the whole gathering: This was the culmination of a decades-long discussion of who should lead this historically Black institution, and this was a celebration of the leadership of Black women in many different fields, particularly in scholarship, in literature, and in the arts.
At its core, the romance novel satisfies a fundamental human desire to experience love. In a world that often feels less and less safe, the assurance of an “HEA” (happily ever after) or “HFN” (happy for now) that a romance novel provides is comforting.
On the centennial of Jean Toomer’s Cane—and rural Georgia’s turn as the literary backdrop for a renaissance
One of my favorite lines in Jean Toomer’s masterwork Cane is “the pines whisper to Jesus.” I take it to mean what we cannot say out loud, we whisper to the trees, who then pass the message on to God. The truths, desires, and needs that are too painful—or powerful—to say out loud must be whispered to remain intact. Cane is a book of multiple whispers, sighs, and quiets about the early-20th-century South.
Rare and classic books keep finding Rosa Duffy. Some have fragile, first edition spines that creek like arthritic joints. Others have musings jotted in the margins by previous owners. These are Duffy’s favorites—the ones that she hand-selects from online sellers, collectors, or other independent bookstores to live in her Auburn Avenue reading room and store, For Keeps Books.
If there’s an Atlantan with something interesting to say, there’s a good chance they’ve said it to Rose Scott. Her radio program, Closer Look, which airs live every weekday afternoon on local NPR member station WABE, hosts a vibrant cross-section of the city’s movers and shakers, interviewed by Scott herself. “I always say we’re a curator of conversations,” she told me. “Community conversations.”
An Atlanta-based venture capital firm funds Black women entrepreneurs. Now, the legal activist who helped overturn affirmative action is suing.
In August, the American Alliance for Equal Rights, lead by Edward Blum, filed a complaint against Atlanta-based Fearless Fund, claiming its Fearless Strivers Grant Contest—which offers grants to Black women-owned businesses—is a “racially-discriminatory program” that violates the law’s “guarantee of race neutrality.” The case will be heard in federal court later this month.