[from Carol Herwig]
The Friends of the Petworth Neighborhood Library present:
THE BIG READ
Sunday, May 6, 2:00pm
Petworth Library, Georgia Ave at Upshur St NW
Their Eyes Were Watching God, the brilliant novel published in 1937 by Zora Neale Hurston, is the focus of THE BIG READ, a city-wide reading event in April and May created by the National Endowment for the Arts. Everyone in the city will be reading the same book at the same time!
Zora Neale Hurston ~ Celebrated Out Loud
Dr. Lorraine Henry of Howard University will make introductory remarks on who Zora Neale Hurston is, and will illustrate with some readings. Two playwrights, both professors at Howard University - Nubia Kai and Denise Hart - will perform more readings from Their Eyes Were Watching God.
The entire Sixth Presbyterian Church Book Club will be on hand. One of its members, Mrs. V.W. Henderson, will tell us briefly how to form a book club and make it work. Then club members will open a general discussion of the book and its many themes.
Zora Neale Hurston and the Harlem Renaissance
Born in 1891, Zora Neale Hurston grew up in the all-black town of Eatonville, FL, where her father became Mayor. After graduating from Howard University she studied Anthropology under Margaret Mead’s famous mentor, Franz Boas, at Columbia University. Hurston’s early fiction and folklore writing brought her immediate attention among members of the so-called Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s. She published novels, memoirs and folklore collections, and was friends with Langston Hughes.
But her deep interest in, and love of, grass roots black culture did not immediately appeal to readers during the Great Depression, and Hurston’s books fell out of print for a generation. It was novelist Alice Walker, discovering Zora Neale Hurston’s neglected grave in Florida in the 1970s, who brought Hurston’s feminism and her accomplished, poetic voice back into print. Walker published a collection of Hurston’s writing in 1979 called I Love Myself When I am Laughing. Since that time the body of Hurston’s work, and scholarship about her, have remained in print and flourished.
Book Clubs and Reading Groups Invited
Reading groups and book clubs are especially urged to attend, to share information about the book, and also to tell how to form a good book club and make it work. The Literary Friends have prepared a BOOK BOX filled with materials about Hurston that book groups can borrow.
The Friends of the Petworth Neighborhood Library will provide refreshments.