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Tayari Jones’s Silver Sparrow was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2015 for inclusion in its Big Read library, and in 2016 the [email protected] program received a Big Read Grant, which will allow the program to increase its reach into the Chattanooga community. With generous additional support from UNUM, [email protected] has partnered with local high schools to supply free copies of Jones’s book and has extended its reach into the community by connecting with book clubs and developing engaging community programming for implementation during the [email protected] event in April, 2017. This programming includes events at the Chattanooga Public Library, the Hunter Museum of Art, and the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.
Tayari Jones was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where she spent most of her childhood with the exception of the one year she and her family spent in Nigeria.
Although she has not lived in her hometown for over a decade, much of her writing centers on the urban south. “Although I now live in the northeast,” she explains, “my imagination lives in Atlanta.”
Her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, is a coming of age story set during the city’s infamous child murders of 1979-81. Jones herself was in fifth grade when thirty African American children were murdered from the neighborhoods near her home and school. Her second novel, The Untelling, published in 2005, is the story of a family struggling to overcome the aftermath of a fatal car accident. She describes The Untelling as “a novel about personal history an individual and family myth-making. These personal stories are what come together to determine the story of a community, the unofficial history of a neighborhood, of a city, of a nation.”
Silver Sparrow, her third novel, was published in 2011 by Algonquin Books. With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the…