Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston

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9780385493758: Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston

One of the most beguiling and captivating figures of the twentieth century, Zora Neale Hurston gained fame as a bestselling author, anthropologist, journalist, and playwright. Her remarkable life is presented as never before in SPEAK, SO YOU CAN SPEAK AGAIN. An interactive package tracing Hurston’s journey from Eatonville, Florida, to her student days at Barnard College, to her emergence as a literary star and bestselling author and cultural icon during the Harlem Renaissance and her subsequent decline into obscurity, it contains beautifully crafted facsimiles of historic papers, handwritten notes, photographs, and much more.

Readers will be able to hold in their hands the charred draft notes for the novel, Seraph on the Suwannee; open a Christmas card Hurston created for her friends; and read letters illuminating her relationships with intimate friends and fellow writers like Langston Hughes and Dorothy West. SPEAK, SO YOU CAN SPEAK AGAIN also provides the extraordinary opportunity to hear Hurston’s own voice talking about her life as a writer on several radio interviews, and, in a powerful interlude, singing a passionate rendition of a railroad worker’s chant she learned while collecting folklore in the Deep South.

Interest in Hurston continues to soar. Her most famous book, Their Eyes Are Watching God, is now in development at Oprah Winfrey’s production company, Harpo, and is also being adapted for Broadway. The sales of her books attest to an ever-growing audience. Whether they are discovering Hurston for the first time or are devoted fans, readers will find hours of entertainment in SPEAK, SO YOU CAN SPEAK AGAIN.

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About the Author:

LUCY ANNE HURSTON, the niece of Zora Neale Hurston, has produced and hosted two documentaries about her famous aunt and directed the first high school production of Zora’s play, Mule Bone. Lucy teaches sociology at Manchester Community College in Manchester, Connecticut, and lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

THE ZORA NEALE HURSTON TRUST endeavors to work in concert with various publishers and individuals to bring new readers to the work of Zora Neale Hurston and her literary legacy.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* In the simplest terms, this book is a brief biography of Zora Neale Hurston, one of the outstanding figures in the Harlem Renaissance who has come to be recognized as a major voice in twentieth-century literature. It was written by Hurston's niece and is "the first collaborative family-sanctioned project on the life and legend." The text is a cogent and spirited conjuring of Hurston's vibrant personality and estimation of her work's place and importance, but the incredible illustrative matter is the real draw and what makes the book so amazing. The pages are full of arresting photographs as well as many pieces of removable memorabilia and writings in Hurston's own hand; these "artifacts" have been reproduced so exactly that readers will feel as if they were holding the actual items. Glued into the gutter of one page, for instance, is a beautiful envelope with the stains and smears the original one obviously bears, inside of which are folded a short story reproduced from the pages of Opportunity magazine and a scrap of wrapping paper on which Hurston typed a poem. Further on is an immaculate reproduction of a holiday card Hurston made for her friends: again, looking and feeling exactly like the original. On another page is a pull-out cover of a Saturday Review issue featuring Hurston on the cover. And then there is a facsimile of an entire sketchbook in which she kept notes for her novel Herod the Great. And more and more. Will librarians view this biography-scrapbook as a nightmare, though? Obviously, its handling will have to be carefully supervised to prevent the removable items from disappearing, but the responsible, literary-minded patron should not be deprived of the intimate pleasure this book affords. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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