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April 2022 Adult Top-Picks

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Memphis
A Novel
By (author): Tara M. Stringfellow
Tara M. Stringfellow

Imprint:

The Dial Press

ISBN:

9780593230480

Product Form:

Hardcover
Hardcover
English

Audience:

General / adult
Apr 05, 2022
$36.00 CAD
Active

Dimensions:

9.52in x 6.3 x 0.9 in | 1.06 lb

Page Count:

272 pages

Illustrations:

FAMILY TREE
Random House
The Dial Press
FICTION / Literary
A spellbinding debut novel tracing three generations of a Southern Black family and one daughter’s discovery that she has the power to change her family’s legacy.

In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s violence, seeking refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. Half a century ago, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass—only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in Memphis. This wasn’t the first time violence altered the course of Joan’s family’s trajectory, and she knows it won’t be the last. Longing to become an artist, Joan pours her rage and grief into sketching portraits of the women of North Memphis—including their enigmatic neighborMiss Dawn, who seems to know something about curses.

Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of voices, Memphis weaves back and forth in time to show how the past and future are forever intertwined. It is only when Joan comes to see herself as a continuation of a long matrilineal tradition—and the women in her family as her guides to healing—that she understands that her life does not have to be defined by vengeance. That the sole weapon she needs is her paintbrush.

Inspired by the author’s own family history, Memphis—the Black fairy tale she always wanted to read—explores the complexity of what we pass down, not only in our families, but in our country: police brutality and justice, powerlessness and freedom, fate and forgiveness, doubt and faith, sacrifice and love.

Story Locale: Memphis, Tennessee

DEBUT NOVEL INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS: Tara M. Stringfellow’s grandfather was the first Black detective in Memphis and was later killed by his own squad; her grandmother was the first Black nurse in a white hospital.

ACQUIRED IN A COMPETITIVE AUCTION WITH RIGHTS ALREADY SOLD IN THE UK AND WIDE FILM/TV INTEREST

Poet, former attorney, Northwestern University MFA graduate, and semifinalist for the Fulbright Fellowship, Tara M. Stringfellow has written for Collective Unrest, Minerva RisingJet Fuel ReviewWomen Arts Quarterly Journal, and Apogee Journal, among other publications. After having lived in Okinawa, Ghana, Chicago, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Washington, D.C., she moved back home to Memphis, where she sits on her porch swing every evening with her hound, Huckleberry, listening to records and chatting with neighbors.

Author Residence: Memphis, Tennessee

Author Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Marketing: Pre-pub consumer outreach and reviews

National advertising campaign

Social media and influencer campaign

Goodreads campaign targeting fans of Homegoing and The Vanishing Half

Targeted email marketing

Major book club outreach

Random House e-newsletters and websites

Extra content available to booksellers

Reading group guide online

Library and academic outreach



Publicity: National media attention

National/local review and feature print attention

National/local radio attention

Digital review and feature attention  

NPR campaign

Local author promotion: [Memphis, TN]

Author tour 

Social Media Campaign

Targeted blogger outreach



Author Website: www.tarastringfellow.com/

Author Social Media: @tarastringfellow

“Readers will come to see that Stringfellow is demonstrating the erratic movements of history, the false starts and reversals and, yes, the moments of progress that are reflected in our haphazard march toward realizing King’s vision for America…. With her richly impressionistic style, Stringfellow captures the changes transforming Memphis in the latter half of the 20th century.”—The Washington Post

“Written with the grace of a poet, Memphis is as hopeful as it is heartbreaking. I fell in love with this family, from Joan’s fierce heart to her grandmother Hazel’s determined resilience. Tara Stringfellow will be an author to watch for years to come…. A stellar debut.”—Jacqueline Woodson, bestselling author of Red at the Bone

Memphis is an evocative, compelling tale that mines the depths of collective Black pain to arrive at something that might be, for once, Black healing. Writing in the ancestral tradition of stories passed from one generation to the next—relived, revised, revealed—Tara M. Stringfellow assembles an endearing and unforgettable cast of characters who find strength in vulnerability, safety in art, and liberation in telling the truth. This is a shining, splendid testimony in the vein of Gloria Naylor, Delores Phillips, Ayana Mathis, and Honorée Jeffers.”—Robert Jones, Jr., New York Times bestselling author of The Prophets

“In luminous, lyrical prose, Tara Stringfellow sings the song of the North women—and the North men—with wisdom, humor, and deep humanity. Memphis is an American epic, a tribute to life in all of its sorrow and joyful resilience.”—Chloe Benjamin, bestselling author of The Immortalists

“This vivid debut novel examines the tragedies, joys, and deep connections of one extraordinary Memphis family. . . . A story populated with unforgettable characters. Stringfellow’s prose is evocative…. A powerful family saga from a promising writer.”Booklist

“A rich tapestry of women’s familial relationships…a well-written debut by an author worth watching for years to come…Recommended for anyone who appreciates Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, or Gloria Naylor.”Library Journal (starred review)

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