Tayari Jones

Author, An American Marriage, and Professor-at-Large, Cornell University and Professor of Creative Writing, Emory University

Tayari Jones is a writer whose stories and literary imagination center on Georgia and its capital city. Born and raised in Atlanta, Jones has written a number of short stories and articles but is best known for her novels, Leaving Atlanta (2002), The Untelling (2005), The Silver Sparrow (2011), and An American Marriage (2018).

American Marriage was a 2018 Oprah’s Book Club Selection and won the 2019 Aspen Words Literary Prize and the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship, and a 2021 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Fiction. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. And, Leaving Atlanta received the Hurston/Wright Foundation’s award for Debut Fiction, and Atlanta Magazine named it “Novel of the Year.” It also earned rave reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and from indigenous American writer, Leslie Marmon Silko.

Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, the University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is currently a member of the English faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University, and returned to her hometown of Atlanta after a decade in New York City. Jones was Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-large at Cornell University before becoming Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University.

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