Over the last decade, Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon published the award-winning trilogy, Zora and Me, a fictional series based on the life and work of anthropologist and writer (and as Vicky says, “dynamite cultural critic”), Zora Neale Hurston. The third and final volume, Zora and Me: The Summoner, has just been published this month, and she talks about it with her colleague from the John Jay College English department, Allison Pease. They discuss the joys and challenges of writing solo and co-writing, Kipling, and – my favorite part – an imagined conversation with Zora. Allison is a thoughtful and appreciative reader and their conversation will make you want to read the entire trilogy, as it did me. The book touches on a number of issues – racism, death, lynching, colonialism, threats of violence – that would be compelling reading for the middle-grade reader it targets as well as anyone who goes in for historical fiction, ZNH, fantasy, and a little horror. For background on where we are in the trilogy before you listen to the conversation, this will help.
Allison Pease is Professor of English and Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness at John Jay. You can follow her on Twitter. Her new podcast Creating a Framework for a Culturally Affirming, Inclusive and Anti-Racist Curriculum which she co-hosts with Dara Byrne, Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, can be found here.
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