Reading the Greats: Toni Morrison & Jesmyn Ward
Dates: 4 Tuesdays, Jan. 15 - Feb. 5
Time: 7 pm - 9 pm
Instructor: Sunisa Manning
Genre: Literature Class
Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award for the second time with Sing, Unburied, Sing, a novel about black male identity, Southern poverty, and the prison system. Though the road trip narrative with its polyphonic voices draws on Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, it’s Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon that is the more interesting influence.
In this class we’ll read Morrison’s 1977 novel, which won the National Book Critic Circle Award and pioneered her kaleidoscopic, layered style. Then we’ll discuss how it informs Sing, Unburied, Sing. We’ll go over the idea of literary lineage and how Ward might be building on Morrison’s work.
If you’re a fan of Morrison’s fiction and want to read a younger female contemporary, or if you’ve been waiting to tackle Morrison’s work with some critical guidance, this is a good class for you. We’ll take two weeks to read Song of Solomon and one to read Sing, Unburied, Sing, so we can discuss both novels together for our final meeting.
Sunisa Manning's fiction and essays have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, Atlas and Alice, and elsewhere. She’s been a writer in residence at Hedgebrook and The Hambidge Center. Sunisa was a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State and is currently a SF Writer's Grotto Fellow. She lives in Berkeley CA, where she’s editing her novel.
More about Sunisa: www.sunisamanning.com