About Brazos Valley Reads
|Brazos Valley Reads (BVR) is a community effort organized by Texas A&M University’s Department of English with extensive support from various groups in the University and the community. The program was started in 2005 to encourage bridge building between Texas A&M’s students and staff and the Brazos Valley community at large. For the past several years, BVR has invited internationally recognized authors including Ernest Gaines, Sandra Cisneros, Tim O’Brien, Sherman Alexie, and Maxine Hong Kingston to College Station for a public reading and to meet with members of the community. Since 2011 BVR has partnered with the National Book Foundation to support the launch of BookupTexas, a literacy program serving middle school aged children. Major co-sponsors for the BVR 2013 events include Blinn College and the Brazos Valley African American Museum.|
The Department of English at Texas A&M University is pleased to present the 2013 book selection for Brazos Valley Reads:
Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones
PUBLIC READING FROM LEAVING ATLANTA with the AUTHOR
WHEN: Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Bryan Civic Auditorium
Book signing to follow the reading.
Join us as Jones reads from her latest novel Silver Sparrow on Wednesday, April 3, 10:30-12:00 noon, at the Brazos Valley African American Museum. Book sale and signing to follow.
The Critical Childhood Studies Seminar and English Honors Students at Texas A&M University will host “The Politics of Child Homicide: Warped Media Coverage, Racial Disparity, and Political Fallout” on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 7:00-8:15 p.m. in the Memorial Student Center, Room 2406 B.
From Publishers Weekly: Based on the Atlanta child murders of 1979-1980, this wrenching debut novel is told from the perspective of three Atlanta fifth-graders living in the midst of the crisis. Tasha is a sweet, conflicted middle-class girl navigating the harsh social waters of her school. Rodney, “the weirdest boy in class,” is an unpopular kid who feels both pushed and ignored by his perfectionist parents. Octavia is a whip-smart, confident social outcast who carefully notes that she lives “across the street” from the projects. Jones, who was a child herself in Atlanta in the late ’70s and early ’80s, weaves her tale with consummate ease, shifting from third to second to first person as she switches narrators. The details of the children’s everyday life playground fights, school cafeteria breakfasts, candy store visits are convincingly presented and provide an emotional context for the murders. When classmates begin disappearing, we know that they, along with their peers, are not one-dimensional innocents. One night when Octavia sneaks a late-night look at the local news, she sees a now-missing classmate flash on the screen. “In the picture he looked like a regular boy from our class. He was by himself so you couldn’t tell that he was shorter than most of them and just nicer and smarter than all of them put together. Kodak commercials say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but the one they showed of Rodney ain’t worth more than three or four. Boy. Black. Dead.” This strongly grounded tale hums with the rhythms of schoolyard life and proves Jones to be a powerful storyteller. Read an excerpt here.
Please click here to view the Leaving Atlanta book trailer created by the TAMU English Honors students:
|Tayari Jones, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, is Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, where she was awarded with a Board of Trustees Award for Scholarly Excellence, the Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, and a Leader in Faculty Diversity Award. Her work has been supported by The National Endowment for the Arts and The United States Artists Foundation and the arts councils of Arizona and Illinois. In addition to Leaving Atlanta (2002), Jones is author of The Untelling (2005) and Silver Sparrow (2011); she spent the 2011-12 academic year at Harvard University as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, researching her forthcoming novel, Dear History.|