This week the 13th Floor Lounge welcomes Valerie Boyd, the author of Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston and the forthcoming Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker.
Boyd is an Associate Professor of Journalism and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Georgia, where she teaches narrative nonfiction writing, as well as arts and literary journalism. Boyd is also co-founder of the University of Georgia’s new Low-Residency MFA Program in Narrative Nonfiction and Screenwriting, which launched in August 2015; Boyd directs the Narrative Nonfiction Program.
An accomplished journalist and cultural critic, Boyd is the former arts editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and she has published articles, essays and reviews in numerous anthologies, magazines and newspapers, including: Step Into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature, Ms. magazine, Paste, The Oxford American, Book magazine, Essence, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Creative Nonfiction, and African American Review.
She founded EightRock, a cutting-edge journal of black arts and culture, in 1990. In 1992, she co-founded HealthQuest, the first nationally distributed magazine focusing on African-American health.
Boyd’s Wrapped in Rainbows—the first biography of Zora Neale Hurston in 25 years—was published to wide critical acclaim. It was hailed by Alice Walker as “magnificent” and “extraordinary”; by The Washington Post as “definitive”; by the Boston Globe as “elegant and exhilarating”; and by the Denver Post as “a rich, rich read.”
For her work on Wrapped in Rainbows, Boyd received the Georgia Author of the Year Award in nonfiction as well as an American Library Association Notable Book Award. The Georgia Center for the Book proclaimed Wrapped in Rainbows one of the “25 Books That All Georgians Should Read,” and the Southern Book Critics Circle honored it with the Southern Book Award for best nonfiction of the year.
Boyd is currently curating and editing the journals of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. Simon & Schuster will publish Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker in 2017.