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Tayari Jones

Bestselling Author of An American Marriage

Tayari Jones’s AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE has been a 2018 Oprah’s Book Club Selection, an instant New York Times bestseller, and a National Book Award finalist, with over 600,000 copies in print. This story of a marriage torn apart by a wrongful conviction has been called “haunting . . . beautifully written” (the New York Times Book Review) and “brilliant and heartbreaking . . . unforgettable” (USA Today). It was included on dozens of best-of-the-year lists, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, USA Today, and more.

“It’s among Tayari’s many gifts that she can touch us soul to soul with her words,” says Oprah Winfrey. The novel has been called “exquisite, timely and powerful” (Edwidge Danticat), and Jones has garnered praise for her “compassionate observation, her clear-eyed insight and her beautifully written and complex characters” (Amy Bloom) and her “heartbreaking and genuinely suspenseful love story” (Tom Perrotta). Michael Chabon says that Jones’s “vision . . . strength, and . . . truth-telling voice have found a new level of artistry and power.” Former president Barack Obama included it on his 2018 list of favorite reads, and former first lady Michelle Obama told the NYT that An American Marriage is on her nightstand.

Her previous novel, SILVER SPARROW, a story of a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle, was chosen for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Library of contemporary classics. Her first novel, LEAVING ATLANTA, a coming-of-age story set against the city’s infamous African American child murders of 1979–81, won the Hurston/Wright Award for debut fiction. Her second novel, THE UNTELLING, about a family struggling to overcome the aftermath of a fatal car accident, received the Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries. The Village Voice wrote, “Tayari Jones is fast defining black middle-class Atlanta the way that Cheever did for Westchester.”

Jones has returned to her hometown of Atlanta, where she is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University. She holds degrees from Spelman College (BA), the University of Iowa (MA), and Arizona State University (MFA). She has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, United States Artist Foundation, and Black Mountain Institute. An accomplished and witty speaker, she has spoken at hundreds of colleges and universities, libraries, writers’ conferences, and literary series all over the country.

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Speaking Topics

  • An American Marriage: A Love Story Torn Apart by Social Injustice
  • Silver Sparrow: A Bigamist's Family and Secret Sisters
  • Changing Lives: Mentoring Young Writers
  • Historical Memory as a Source of Inspiration for Writers


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