December 2004

Mistress of American letters

By Lucy Anne Hurston
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Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston is a one-of-a-kind retrospective of a remarkable author. Produced by Lucy Anne Hurston, niece of the novelist, and the estate of Zora Neale Hurston, this unique book provides an in-depth look at one of the formative voices in American literature.

Presented in an interactive, lift-the-flap, scrapbook format, Speak traces the life of this spirited writer, from her birth in 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama, through her involvement in the Harlem Renaissance and career as a fiction writer, to her groundbreaking work as a collector of Southern folklore. As the book reveals, the woman who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God was an innovative, independent artist who attended Barnard College in the mid-1920s (she was the only black student at the time), worked as a drama teacher for the Works Progress Administration (along with Orson Welles and John Houseman), and embraced scandal (she smoked in public and had a trio of husbands, one of whom was 25 years her junior).

Filled with artifacts, correspondence and rarely seen visuals, this special volume, which also includes a CD of radio interviews and folk songs performed by Hurston herself, is a unique homage to an adventuresome author.


Julie Hale is a writer in Austin, Texas.


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