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The Keystone Honors Academy Presents Book Club Discussion with the Author of "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," Ayana Mathis

Angelitta Anderson

October 24, 2013

The Keystone Honors Academy (KHA) is proud to present a Book Club Discussion with the author of “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie,” Ayana Mathis. The book is a fictionalized memoir which documents the tribulations of one family during the Great Migration of African-Americans fleeing the Jim Crow laws of the south.  The book’s use of allegory to explore race and slavery in America has earned it enough praise and recognition to currently be an “Oprah Book Club Choice.”

KHA invites the entire campus community to come meet the author and engage in discussion about the book with her on November 7, 2013  at 7:00 PM in Cheyney's Marian Anderson Music Center Auditorium.  The event is FREE for all CU students, faculty and staff.  A $10 donation is requested for community guests. In addition, there will be a reception to meet the author in Carnegie Hall located on the quad at 5:00 pm. The cost is $35 which includes: VIP seating, a photo opportunity with the author, and hors d’oeuvres. The proceeds help support KHA students at Cheyney.

Prior to the November 7 events, the entire campus community is invited to meet on October 29, 2013 at 4:30 in Marcus Foster room 211 to enjoy light refreshments and talk about the book. 

“The Twelve Tribes of Hattie” follows the life of Hattie Shepherd as she flees Georgia in 1923 for a better life in Philadelphia, PA where the author grew up. Something happens to Shepherd's young twins, though, that changes her life. The novel spans more than 50 years, jumping between each of Shepherd's many children and one grandchild.

The author, Mathis, who longed to pursue a writing career, attended both New York University and Temple University without earning an undergraduate degree. Although she took some writing courses, she mostly wrote poetry--never considering herself a fictional writer. She ended up living in Italy for four years, learning the language and acquiring some cooking skills. A year or so after her return to New York, she found her way to a private creative writing class taught by Jackson Taylor, a novelist. In 2009 she attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and began working on her fictionalized memoir which soon became her now debut novel “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.”