Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence
2019: Tayari Jones
Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence Reading
March 19, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public. No tickets required.
100 Genome Sciences Auditorium
250 Bell Tower Road
Reclaim. Restore. Remember. Rejoice. These are the watchwords in Tayari Jones’s writings.
Beginning with Leaving Atlanta (2002), her first of four novels, Jones established these truths by revisiting the traumatic events of her childhood in that city, when it was under the grips of one of America’s most disturbing mysteries: more than 28 children vanished from the streets. She takes us into the lives of three children and allows us to understand how grappling with that fear felt to a child of those same neighborhoods.
Also set in Atlanta, The Untelling (2005) gives us Aria Jackson, who struggles with death in ways reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston’s Janie Crawford. Fully realized, she moves through grief in realistic, compelling, and moving stages. Jones’s third novel, Silver Sparrow (2011), portrays black middle-class Southern life in a manner, sadly, not captured often enough: friendship among girls, family secrets, estrangement.
By this point in her career, Jones had received the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Lillian Smith Award, the United States Artist Fellowship, and numerous other prizes. Her fourth novel, An American Marriage (2018), a tale of love, marriage, the United States justice system, and the travails of relationship, seized the hearts and imagination of a multitude of readers. This response was not simply because of Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement— “It’s one of those books I could not put down. And as soon as I did, I called up the author, and said, ‘I’ve got to talk to you about this story’”—but due to its artistry, unstinting realism, and compelling characters.
A native of Atlanta, the daughter of academics, and a graduate of Spelman College, Jones has returned to her homeland, where she is currently a professor of English at Emory University after years teaching in the north. “I am,” she says, “a woman writer, a black writer, an American writer, and a southern writer.” She is that rare author who is also an excellent communicator—a teacher, a blog writer, a public speaker, a novelist. Above all, Tayari Jones is a master storyteller: Reclaim. Restore. Remember. Rejoice.
About the Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence Program
The Department of English and Comparative Literature proudly announces the creation of the Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence Program. This program will build upon our department’s long-standing commitment to the value of a writer-in-residence program that spans over two decades. Through the generosity of the Morgan Writer-in-Residence Program (1993-2012) and the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Program (2013-2015), our department has brought significant contemporary writers to campus to meet with students and faculty, to visit classes, and to give readings, talks, and symposia. The Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence Program affirms and continues that tradition. It will ensure that our students continue to be inspired by interactions with important writers of our time. Furthermore, it will greatly enrich the intellectual climate and lively literary culture on Carolina’s campus.
The Department of English and Comparative Literature heartily thanks the Hanes family for its generous sponsorship of the program. The program honors the late Frank Borden Hanes, Sr., (Class of 1942). Mr. Hanes has long been a gracious supporter of Creative Writing at Carolina and has made gifts with powerful lasting impact. He endowed the Thomas Wolfe Scholarship, which brings highly promising young writers to the Creative Writing Program, and he also supported the teaching and creativity of our Creative Writing faculty in countless ways. Mr. Hanes himself was a passionate author, a proud and loyal alumnus, and an outstanding citizen of our state.
Frank B. Hanes Writers-in-Residence
- 2018 – Julia Alvarez
- 2017 – Ted Conover
- 2016 – Natasha Trethewey
- 2015 – Terry Tempest Williams
- 2014 – Stewart O’Nan
- 2013 – Mary Karr
- 2012 – Athol Fugard
- 2011 – Amy Hempel
- 2010 – Edward P. Jones
- 2009 – Mark Strand
- 2008 – Alice McDermott
- 2007 – Tim O’Brien
- 2006 – Joan Didion
- 2005 – Robert Haas
- 2004 – Alice Walker (with Center for the Study of the American South)
- 2003 – Calvin Trillin
- 2002 – Tobias Wolf
- 2001 – John Edgar Wideman
- 2000 – Russell Banks
- 1999 – Richard Wilbur
- 1998 – Robert Pinsky / Rita Dove
- 1997 – Richard Ford
- 1996 – Beth Henley
- 1995 – Annie Dillard
- 1993 – (fall) Shelby Foote