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Zoraphile: all about one of black literature's most storied authors.

Zora Neale Hurston, the flamboyant writer and folklorist gains in fame with each year. Hurston was a luminary of the Harlem Renaissance, a feminist, folklorist and world traveler. Yet she found time to be author of seven novels, numerous short stories, anthologies, memoirs and plays before her death in a St. Lucie County, Florida, nursing home in 1960.

According to biographer Robert E. Hemenway (Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography, Urbana University of Illinois Press, 1980), $945 was the most money Hurston ever received for one of her books. And by the '60s, most of Hurston's published works were out of print. A handful of unpublished manuscripts were found in a trunk headed for the junk heap several years after Hurston was buried in an unmarked grave in the Garden of Heavenly Rest Cemetery in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Today, all of Hurston's works are easily found in bookstores and libraries, and she is the most popular writer taught in high-school and college literature courses. Hurston's plays are produced by theater companies big and small across the country.

Hurston has been the subject of several successful biographies, the most recent being Wrapped in Rainbows by Valerie Boyd (Scribner, 2003) and Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston (Doubleday, 2004) by her niece Lucy Anne Hurston and the Estate of Zora Neale Hurston.

There is a bounty of information available, and here is a selected compilation for new Zoraphiles to bone up on their favorite writer:

ZNH Novels

Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography HarperPerennial, January 1991 $9.95, ISBN 0-060-55284-0

Dust Tracks on a Road, Perennial, June 1996 $14, ISBN 0-060-92168-4

Jonah's Gourd Vine, Perennial, February 1990 $13.95, ISBN 0-060-91651-6

Moses Man of the Mountain, Perennial, January 1991 $14, ISBN 0-060-91994-9

Mules and Men, Perennial, February 1990 $13.98, ISBN 0-070-91648-6

Seraph on the Suwanee, Perennial, January 1995 $14.95 ISBN 0-060-97359-5

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Perennial, December 1998 $13.95, ISBN 0-060-93141-8

Selected Folklore, Memoirs and Other Writings

Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folktales From the Gulf States Edited by Carla Kaplan, Foreword by John Edgar Wideman HarperCollins, December 2001 $25, ISBN 0-060-18893-6

I Love Myself When I'm Laughing and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive, edited by Alice Walker, W.W. Norton & Co. February 1999, $13.95, ISBN 0-393-04695-8

Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica, Perennial February 1990, $13.95, ISBN 0-060-91649-4

The Sanctified Church, Turtle Island Foundation, February 1982 Out of print, ISBN 0-913-66644-0

For Children

What's the Hurry, Fox? And Other Animal Stories collected by Zora Neale Hurston, adapted by Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Brian Collier, HarperCollins Children's Books, April 2004 $15.99, ISBN 0-06-000643-9 Ages 6 and up

Short Story Collections

Go Gator and Muddy the Water: Writings by Zora Neale Hurston From the Federal Writers Project edited by Pamela Bordelon W. W. Norton & Co., February 1999, $19.99, ISBN 0-393-31813-3 Sweat, edited by Cheryl A. Wall, Rutgers University Press, March 1997 $21.95, ISBN 0-813-52916-8

Plays by ZNH

The following are available through the Library of Congress Manuscript Division (http://www.loc.gov/folklife/guides/Hurston.html): Mule Bone, Polk County, Meet the Mamma, De Turkey and de Law, Spunk, and Cold Keener.

All About ZNH: Selected Memoirs and Biographies Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Lucy Anne Hurston, Doubleday, October 2004 $29.95, ISBN 0-385-49375-4

Sorrow's Kitchen: The Life and Folklore of Zora Neale Hurston by Mary E. Lyons, Aladdin, April 1993, $7.99, ISBN 0-020-44445-1

Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hutson by Valerie Boyd, Scribner, January 2003, $30, ISBN 0-684-84230-0

Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography by Robert E. Hemenway, Urbana University of Illinois Press October 1980, $19.95, ISBN 0-252-00807-3

Zora Neale Hutson: A Life in Letters collected and edited by Carla Kaplan Doubleday, October 2002, $19.95, ISBN 0-385-49035-6

Zora Neale Hurston and a History of Southern Life by Tiffany Ruby Patterson, Temple University Press, June 2005 $22.95, ISBN 1-592-13290-1

A Zora Neale Hurston Companion by Robert W. Croft University Press of Florida, June 2004 $34.95, ISBN 0-813-02793-4

Events, Institutions and Resources

The 16th Annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival organized by The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community Inc., January 27-30, 2005, Eatonville, Florida. Contact Information: 800-972-3310 or www.zorafestival.com. (Watch for January 2006 dates.)

The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts was established in 1990 to provide a place where the public can view the works of writers and artists of African descent. The museum presents four exhibitions a year featuring artwork from emerging, mid-career and legendary artists. Location: 227 E. Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville, Fl. 32751. Phone: 407 647-3307 or e-mail zora@cs.ucf.edu.

The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation was founded in 1990 by novelist Marita Golden (see BIBR, January-February 2005 SPOTLIGHT) to develop, nurture and sustain writers of African descent. The foundation presents monetary awards for writers--the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the Hurston/Wright Award--and a multigenre summer writer's workshop. Contact Information, 6525 Belcrest Rd., Suite 531, Hyattsville, Md. 20782. Phone: 301-683-2134 or www.hurston-wright.org.

Selected ZNH-related Web Sites

I Am Zora Http://i.am./zora-features story excerpts, photos, information, essays and links about Hurston.

Voices From the Gaps: Women Writers of Color (Http://voices.cla.umn.edu/newsite/authors/HURSTONzoraneale.htm).

Watching Zora

Zora Neale Hurston's best-known, 1931 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God is being made into a TV movie by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions. The movie stars the Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry and is scheduled to air at 9 P.M., Sunday, March 6.

Earni Young is a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News.
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Author:Young, Earni
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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