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Zora Neale Hurston: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

December 19, 2019 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm PST

front cover of Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick
Co-presented by Litquake and MoAD

In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston—the sole black student at the college—was living in New York, “desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world.” During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life, transforming her into one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.

Released just in time for Black History Month, Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick(Amistad Press) unveils an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions.

With readings and discussion from UC Berkeley African American studies professor Chiyuma Elliott, poet and CCA professor Tonya M. Foster, and bestselling novelist Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. Moderated by writer and radio journalist Jenee Darden. Audience discussion and book sales to follow. $10 general, $5 student/senior, free for MoAD members

*NOTE: This event will be recorded for Litquake’s Lit Cast podcast


avatar for Jenee Darden

Jenee Darden

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, mental health advocate and proud Oakland native. She hosts KALW’s arts segment Sights & Sounds and is their East Oakland reporter. Jenee has reported for NPR, Time, Ebony, Los Angeles Times, and other outlets. She blogs… Read More →


avatar for Tonya Foster

Tonya Foster

Tonya M. Foster was raised in New Orleans. She is an Assistant Professor of Writing & Literature, and of Graduate Writing at California College of the Arts. A poet and essayist, she is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna, 2015), the bilingual chapbook La Grammaire… Read More →
avatar for Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, born and raised in New Orleans, studied creative writing at Dartmouth College and law at UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, was long-listed for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, won the Crook’s Corner Book Prize… Read More →


Museum of the African Diaspora
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Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105 United States
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