The reclusive Gayl Jones re-emerges : New Frame

Despite acclaim from literary giants such as James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, and the way she bent the river of how stories about women and blackness should flow, author Gayl Jones has existed as a hidden figure in the literary landscape for more than two decades – in some ways by choice and in others by design of the industry. A reclusive figure, she has taken agency by not allowing voyeurism in her private life. Jones has not been photographed in years and lives a life communing with close friends and chosen kin.

But the 71-year-old novelist reappeared in 2020 with the publication of her fifth novel palm groves22 years after she disappeared from public life. the Birdcatcher is scheduled for release in September, while The Unicorn Woman will be out in 2023.

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      corregidor is a seminal work that has come to influence literature that Saidya Hartman calls “the afterlife of slavery” and her new works, certainly palm groves, appear to continue in this vein. Her influence has poured into generations of works and has altered the way in which slave memory is recorded. This is clearly recognizable in Yaa Gyasi’s brilliant book homegoingwhich viscerally captures the generational repercussions of stolen and enslaved life in the present.

      Jones’ return to writing is a continuation of the literary canon of narratives she has been instrumental in preserving and breathing life into. Her work de ella allows for the possibility to speculate about hidden figures in society by ensuring that her readers know Black women have existed and that they had the possibility to find pockets of agency and freedom in a world invested in the repression of their stories and existence .

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