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HarperCollins is spearheading a veritable Zora Neale Hurston revival, having purchased Hurston's recently discovered manuscript, Negro Folktales of the Gulf States, which documents Southern folktales from 1929-1930. It will be the first Hurston manuscript published in over 50 years. HC is also reissuing a hardcover version of Hurston's classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, featuring a new introduction by Breath, Eyes, Memory author Edwidge Danticat. Produced in conjunction with Hurston's estate, the new hardcover will bear the original jacket from the 1930s version.

Doubleday senior editor Janet Hill has lured novelist Connie Briscoe from HarperCollins with a seven figure, two-book deal. Not to be outdone in an attempt to broaden their black female market, HC dropped six figures to pick up first-time novelist Evelyn "Slim" Lambright's The Justus Girlz, about a long-term friendship between middle-aged, blue-collar African American women. Back at Doubleday, Hill is readying her own Hurston project, the epistolary Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, edited by Dr. Carla Kaplan.

And finally, just in time for Black History Month, Crown Books snagged Partners To History by actress Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy. Marlon Brando and Robert Kennedy, Jr. will contribute to this collection of essays and previously unreleased photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abernathy.

Literary rep Lawrence Jordan sold the first volume of writer and translator Paul Robeson Jr.'s two-part biography of his Renaissance Man father. The Undiscovered Paul Robeson is expected to hit stores in April 2001 on the John Wiley & Sons imprint and will also be featured in a PBS 2001 Black History Month gala. Wanda M. Akin, of Akin and Randolph Agency, struck a deal to sell foreign rights to Beverly East's Finding Mr. Write to Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

St. Martin's Press editor Glenda Howard is keeping the winter months warm with good reads. In November, Howard's imprint will release Make A Joyful Noise: My 25 Years In Gospel Music by host and executive producer of BET's popular show Bobby Jones Gospel. In December, romance lovers can wrap up in the spicy love story anthology Welcome To Leo's by the celebrated romance quartet of Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson and Francis Ray.

For those who can't wait, we've also got an inside scoop on what's sure to heat up summer 2001. First-time author Maryanne Reid's Sex And The Single Sister, which Howard calls the "black woman's version of Sex and the City," promises to take readers inside the spicy world of urban sisters on the move. I can already hear the concrete sizzle!

Tanya McKinnon, of the Mary Evans Inc. agency, sold celebrity photographer Matthew Jordan's Sepia Dreams to St. Martin's Press. Brimming with photographs of public figures like Susan L. Taylor, Tyra Banks and E. Lynn Harris the volume also boasts inspirational celebrity interviews (and a Vanessa L. Williams intro to boot).

Busta Books, the celebrity biography subdivision of Tony Rose's Amber Books, is expanding its line by adding biographies of Tiger Woods, Missy Elliot, Sisqo and a joint biography of Dr. Dre and Eminem. The first Busta Book, Kelly Kenyatta's Yes, Yes, Yes: The Unauthorized Biography of Destiny's Child--A Tale of Destiny, Fame and Fortune, is already a hit with young readers.
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Author:Cook, Dara
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2000
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