Valerie Boyd dead and obituary, teaches magazine writing, critical writing and narrative journalism

Went back to shelf to pick up WRAPPED IN RAINBOWS, to excerpt some passage to honor Valerie Boyd and mark her passing. There were simply too many gems from which to choose. It seems that every other page has a sticky note. Many thanks for all you’ve left us, Valerie Boyd. #RIP

We are collectively stunned by this news. Valerie Boyd was a scholar of the highest order and was a pleasure to work with. In summer 2021, she moderated a #OneBookAthens conversation with @JasonReynolds83, @DrIbram, & @SonjaCherryPaul
about their book, Stamped.

Professor Boyd teaches magazine writing, critical writing, and narrative journalism. Her research interests include narrative non-fiction, art criticism and cultural reporting, and issues of race and gender in the media. She is a Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, and she is the founder and director of Grady’s innovative low-residence MFA program in narrative nonfiction.

Professor Boyd is interested in narrative nonfiction writing across platforms, including digital storytelling, magazines, newspapers, books, and films. She is also interested in American history, art and culture, and issues of race and gender in the media. Professor Boyd is the author of the award-winning biography Wrapped in a Rainbow: The Life of Zora Neal Hurston. She is currently curating and editing the journal of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. Simon & Schuster/37Ink will publish “Meeting on Fire: The Diary of Alice Walker” in 2020.

Professor Boyd’s teaching interests include narrative non-fiction, immersive journalism, art criticism, cultural reporting, and magazine and feature writing.

Professor Boyd was the arts editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has written about the intersection of race, art, and culture for numerous national and regional magazines, newspapers, and online media. Her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Paste, Ms., Essence, and Atlanta Magazine, among others. She founded EightRock, a cutting-edge journal on African American art and culture, in 1990. In 1992, she co-founded HealthQuest, the nation’s first nationally distributed magazine focused on African-American health.
Professor Boyd’s “Rainbow Package” — which The Washington Post called the “definitive” biography of novelist and anthropologist Zora Neal Hurston — was published in 2003 to critical acclaim. Alice Walker praised it as “grand” and “extraordinary”; the Boston Globe called it “elegant and uplifting”; the Denver Post called it “a rich, rich read.”

Professor Boyd has received the Georgia State Nonfiction Writer of the Year Award and the American Library Association’s Distinguished Book Award for his work on “Around the Rainbow: The Life of Zora Neal Hurston.” The Southern Book Critics Association awarded Rainbow Wrap the Southern Book of the Year Award for Best Nonfiction. In 2017, Professor Boyd received the Governor’s Award for Arts and Humanities.

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