The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Hurston's Voice Is A Folk Voice


Public domain image of Zora Neale Hurston from the Library of Congress.

Zora Neale Hurston: Anthropologist. Storyteller. Playwright. Writer Alice Walker notes on this Big Read audio guide that Hurston, in Their Eyes Were Watching God, "takes a black community, because that’s what she grew up in, and she helps you to understand and see the people whose voices that are in the novel."

Biographer Robert Hemenway leads off the following audio excerpt, which deals with Hurston's folk roots. Stick around until the end to hear 83-year-old award-winning actress and activist Ruby Dee read a gripping passage from the novel. Oh, and you also get to hear Zora Neale sing and talk. Seriously. She talks and sings! It's like an icicle to the spine.

[audio:http://bigreadblog.arts.gov//audio/HurstonFolk.mp3]

(Remarkable archival audio is thanks to Victoria Sanders and Associates.)

[transcript]

Other contributors include current and former NEA National Council on the Arts members, Bret Lott and Jerry Pinkney.

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