The Center for Black Literature, in collaboration with The Center for Fiction’s NEA Big Read initiative for Toni Morrison’s classic novel Beloved, presented a book discussion on the significance of the novel in the larger cultural and literary landscape. Scholars and writers on the panel included Shelly Eversley, professor of English and Interim Chair of the Black and Latinx Studies Department at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY), and Monica L. Miller, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana Studies and English at Barnard College, Columbia University. Donna Hill, professor of English at Medgar Evers College and award-winning author, served as moderator of the discussion.
By Toni Morrison
Published by Knopf Doubleday
An unflinching look into the abyss of slavery from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner. This spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.
Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.
Dr. Shelly Eversley
Dr. Shelly Eversley
Dr. Shelly Eversley is professor of English and interim chair of the Black and Latinx Studies department at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY), where she teaches literature, feminism, and Black studies. She is also faculty co-director of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Transformative Learning in the Humanities initiative at CUNY. She was recently academic director of CUNY’s Faculty Fellowship Publication Program and is founder of equalityarchive.com. She is the author of The Real Negro: The Question of Authenticity in Twentieth Century African American Literature (Routledge, 2004) as well as several essays on literature, race, and culture. Her editorial work includes The Sexual Body and The 1970s, both special issues of WSQ, a journal by The Feminist Press, as well as the forthcoming book African American Literature in Transition, 1960–1970: Black Art, Politics, and Aesthetics (Cambridge). She is currently revising a new book titled The Practice of Blackness: Cold War Surveillance, Censorship and African American Literary Survival.
Donna Hill’s latest book is titled Confessions in B-Flat. Hill is also the author of Divas, Inc. and In My Bedroom, and has more than 80 published titles to her credit since her first novel was released in 1990. She is one of the pioneers of the African American romance genre. Three of her novels have been adapted for television. Her awards include The Career Achievement Award, The Trailblazer Award, The Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award, and The Gold Pen Award. She is an assistant professor of Professional Writing at Medgar Evers College, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Hill has been featured in Essence, the Daily News, USA Today, Today’s Black Woman, and Black Enterprise, among many others. She can be found at www.donnaohill.com.
Monica L. Miller
Monica L. Miller
Monica L. Miller is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana Studies and English at Barnard College, Columbia University. A specialist in contemporary African American and Afro-diasporic literature and cultural studies, she is the author of the award-winning book Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity (Duke University Press, 2009). A grantee from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, she is a frequent commentator in the media and arts worlds and teaches and writes about Black literature, art, and performance, fashion cultures, and contemporary Black European culture and politics.