March 13, 1997
A. J. Verdelle Reads and Discusses Her Works at
African American novelist A. J. Verdelle will read
from and discuss her award-winning novel, The Good Negress,
in Mead Chapel at Middlebury College on Monday, March 24, at 7:30
The Good Negress, Verdelle's
first novel, is a deceptively simple tale of a young woman in
the '60s who is sent to live with her "Granma'am" in
rural Virginia. After a period of tutelage, she returns to Detroit
to help raise her young brothers against a backdrop of urban turbulence.
The book has received four national prizes since its publication
in April, 1995, honored first by the American Academy of Arts
and Letters with the Howard Vursell Award. Later, in May of 1996,
the PEN/Faulkner nomination turned into a PEN/Faulkner finalist's
award. The book also garnered a Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe
College for the 1996-'97 academic year. On the first day of the
Bunting Fellowship, the Whiting Writer's Award was granted. The
Good Negress was also a finalist for the 1995 Los Angeles
Times Book Prize.
The book has received more than 150 reviews in newspapers
and periodicals. Mirabella writer Cathleen Schine discussed
the novel in the context of Jane Austen films, saying the novel
recalled the "purposeful thrill of an Austen-like world."
New Orleans Magazine featured Verdelle in its French Quarter
issue in 1996. Interview magazine featured Verdelle as
one of six new novelists in the September 1995 fiction list, "Great
New Stories." The book has been assigned in college courses
Ms. Verdelle is also the owner and founder of the
Brooklyn-based consulting company, Applied Statistics & Research.
She began her career in statistics and data analysis while earning
a master's degree in applied statistics at the University of Chicago.
Her undergraduate degree is in political science, also from the
University of Chicago.
The public is cordially invited to attend the lecture.