Tayari Jones is a novelist, short story writer, and essayist whose work explores the complexities of life in the urban centers of the American South. The Village Voice says she “is fast defining middle-class black Atlanta the way Cheever did Westchester.” Jones is an associate professor of English at Rutgers University in Newark, where she serves on the MFA faculty. Her latest novel, Silver Sparrow (Algonquin Books, 2011), was named as one of the best of 2011 by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Library Journal, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Slate.
While at the Radcliffe Institute, Jones will work on a new novel, “Dear History,” in which she explores the collateral damage of mass incarceration. The new work examines a couple whose lives are torn asunder by the husband’s wrongful conviction. When he is freed after seven years, they attempt to redefine their loyalties and desires.
Jones’s novel Leaving Atlanta (Warner Books, 2002) was a debut fiction winner of the Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award, and The Untelling (Warner Books, 2005) won a Lillian C. Smith Book Award in addition to being a fiction finalist for the Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award. A graduate of Spelman College, Jones was a 2008 USA Collins Fellow at United States Artists and was granted a 2012 literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has appeared in the Believer, New Stories from the South, and the New York Times.