Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information


Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction

Born: 1970, in Atlanta Georgia

Illinois Connection

Jones took her first tenured job at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 2004. She taught creative writing. Her parents met there in the 60's.

Biographical and Professional Information

Tayari Jones is the author of four novels and holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. A recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Tayari has taught at Prairie View A&M University, East Tennessee State University, the University of Illinois and George Washington University. In addition, she has led workshops in Portugal, Ghana, Uganda, and Brazil. Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, where she was awarded with a Board of Trustees Award for Scholarly Excellence, the Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, a Leader in Faculty Diversity Award. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Artists Foundation and the arts councils of Arizona and Illinois. She spent the 2011-12 academic year at Harvard University as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, researching her forthcoming novel, Dear History.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- """An American Marriage"""

-- *Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2019

-- *Aspen Words Literary Prize, 2019

-- *Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Fiction, NAACP, 2019

-- *Black Caucus Literary Award for Fiction, American Library Association, 2019

-- *Finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2019

-- *Longlist, Orwell Prize for Fiction, 2019

-- *Longlist, Simpson Family Literary Prize, 2019

-- *Longlist, Aspen Words Literary Prize, 2019

-- *Longlist, Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, 2019

-- *Book of the Year, Apple Books, 2018

-- *Most Notable Book List - Fiction, New York Times, 2018

-- *Most Notable Book List - Fiction, Washington Post, 2018

-- *Favorites of Favorites List, LibraryReads, 2018

-- *Best of the Year Selection, NPR, 2018

-- *Best of the Year Selection, Time, 2018

-- *Best of the Year Selection, Bustle, 2018

-- *Best of the Year Selection, O, The Oprah Magazine, 2018

-- *Best of the Year Selection, Amazon, 2018

-- *Oprah's Book Club Selection, 2018

-- *Barack Obama Summer Reading List, 2018

-- *Starred Review, Kirkus

-- *Starred Review, Library Journal

-- *Starred Review, Foreword Reviews

-- *Longlist, National Book Award for Fiction, 2018

-- *Finalist, 10th Annual GoodReads Choice Awards - Best of Fiction, 2018


-- """Silver Sparrow"""

-- *Big READ Selection, NEA

-- *50 Best Southern Novels, Flavorwire, 2012

-- *Lariat List, Texas Library Association, 2012

-- *Honor Book, American Library Association Black Caucus, 2012

-- *Nominated, NAACP Image Award, 2012

-- *Best of the South, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2011

-- *Best of the Year List, Mosaic Literary Magazine, 2011

-- *Top Five Fiction Titles of the Year, Atlanta Magazine, 2011

-- *Best of the Year List, Slate, 2011

-- *Favorites of the Year List, Salon, 2011

-- *Top Ten of the Year, Library Journal, 2011

-- *#1 Choice for the Summer, TODAY Show, 2011


-- """Leaving Atlanta"""

-- *Brazos Valley Reads Selection, Texas A&M, 2013


-- """Other Awards and Honors"""

-- *Time 100 Next List, 2021