Hosted by Black Girls' Book Club co-founders Natalie Carter and Melissa Cummings-Quarry, and RSL Director Molly Rosenberg, this interactive online book club will discuss Zora Neale Hurston’s recently-published short story collection Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick.
In 1925, college student Zora Neale Hurston – the sole Black student at Barnard College, New York – was living in the city, ‘desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world.’ She began writing short works about African American life, becoming one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognised as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.
Join us to discuss Hurston’s collection of stories, and to celebrate her contribution to literary culture ahead of the RSL’s event with Salena Godden and Jackie Kay.
Melissa Cummings-Quarry and Natalie A. Carter met at secondary school in North-East London and bonded over their shared love of books (Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and Alice Walker's The Color Purple remain firm favourites). Years later, Melissa, now a business development manager, and Natalie, a real estate lawyer, decided to channel that passion for reading and form the Black Girls' Book Club, a literature and social events platform that celebrates literature by Black female writers.
Now touted as one of the UK's top live literature events, Black Girls' Book Club have hosted Bernardine Evaristo, Roxane Gay, Malorie Blackman, Afua Hirsch, Tayari Jones, Angie Thomas and featured in media such as: Vogue, Stylist, BBC Radio, Buzzfeed, Metro, gal-dem, Pride and more. Melissa and Natalie were named as two of The Bookseller's Rising Stars of 2019. Their debut book Grown will be published by Bloomsbury in 2021.
We are grateful to the Hawthornden Charitable Trust for their support of this book group as part of the annual Hawthornden event celebrating the influence that British and American writers have on one another.