Tayari Jones is an award-winning author whose runaway bestseller, An American Marriage, features a newlywed couple and their reckoning with the horrors of mass incarceration, navigating ethically-charged questions about faithfulness and sacrifice.
The Q&A for this event will be moderated by Melanie McFarland, the TV Critic for Salon.com.
Tayari Jones is the author of four novels: Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage.
In An American Marriage (2018), Jones introduces us to a man who has been wrongfully incarcerated and examines how he, his wife, and their families deal with the ensuing fallout. Roy and Celestial are still newlyweds when, on a visit home to Louisiana, Roy is convicted of a rape he didn’t commit and sentenced to twelve years in prison. His Morehouse brother Andre, Celestial’s childhood friend, complicates the separation. An American Marriage is a 2018 Oprah’s Book Club Selection.
Jones’s 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, and the Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University.
An Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, Jones is spending the 2017-18 academic year as the Shearing Fellow for Distinguished Writers at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Melanie McFarland is the TV Critic for Salon.com. Prior to joining Salon, McFarland was the TV Editor for IMDb.com, where she curated the site’s television content as well as writing and hosting episodes of its first original web series “What to Watch.” McFarland served on the 2004 and 2005 juries that selected the American Film Institute’s 10 Most Outstanding TV Programs of the Year. She also was a member of the George Foster Peabody Awards board between 2006 and 2012. McFarland has lent her expert commentary to a variety of media outlets, including CNN, NPR, American Public Media, and the BBC. She has been a member of the Television Critics Association since 2003, and currently serves on its executive board.McFarland’s work has appeared in Variety, as well as the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Oregonian, Chicago Tribune, Geekwire, Rotten Tomatoes and Parade Magazine. Her work is included in the upcoming anthology “The Women of David Lynch,” due out June 11. She is based in Seattle, WA.