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Victoria Bond - Zora & Me: The Summoner

Victoria Bond shares ZORA & ME: THE SUMMONER, the 3rd and final book in the ZORA & ME trilogy, co-authored by T.R. Simon and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. Victoria shares about starting with children at their beginnings because, as she puts it, there’s “no better time to meet a reader than at the very beginning.” The books in the ZORA & ME series center on the imagined childhood of Harlem Renaissance luminary Zora Neal Hurston, author of THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD. Each of the novels takes place in Eatonville, FL, one of the first all-black incorporated towns in the nation. And in this story, Victoria asks herself how the town could get someone elected to a position that seems so unbelievable and, ultimately, leads to Zora leaving town. I was so grateful for this connection with Victoria. She feels like a kindred soul and I very much hope our paths cross again. For now, we have this truly exceptional book series to keep us good company.

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ON TODAY'S EPISODE (#647):

In the finale to the acclaimed trilogy, upheaval in Zora Neale Hurston's family and hometown persuade her to leave childhood behind and find her destiny beyond Eatonville.


For Carrie and her best friend, Zora, Eatonville--America's first incorporated Black township--has been an idyllic place to live out their childhoods. But when a lynch mob crosses the town's border to pursue a fugitive and a grave robbery resuscitates the ugly sins of the past, the safe ground beneath them seems to shift. Not only has Zora's own father--the showboating preacher John Hurston--decided to run against the town's trusted mayor, but there are other unsettling things afoot, including a heartbreaking family loss, a friend's sudden illness, and the suggestion of voodoo and zombie-ism in the air, which a curious and grieving Zora becomes all too willing to entertain.


In this fictionalized tale, award-winning author Victoria Bond explores the end of childhood and the bittersweet goodbye to Eatonville by preeminent author Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). In so doing, she brings to a satisfying conclusion the story begun in the award-winning Zora and Me and its sequel, Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground, sparking inquisitive readers to explore Hurston's own seminal work.


A powerful fictionalized account of Zora Neale Hurston's childhood adventures explores the idea of collective memory and the lingering effects of slavery.


"History ain't in a book, especially when it comes to folks like us. History is in the lives we lived and the stories we tell each other about those lives."


When Zora Neale Hurston and her best friend, Carrie Brown, discover that the town mute can speak after all, they think they've uncovered a big secret. But Mr. Polk's silence is just one piece of a larger puzzle that stretches back half a century to the tragic story of an enslaved girl named Lucia. As Zora's curiosity leads a reluctant Carrie deeper into the mystery, the story unfolds through alternating narratives. Lucia's struggle for freedom resonates through the years, threatening the future of America's first incorporated black township -- the hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). In a riveting coming-of-age tale, award-winning author T. R. Simon champions the strength of a people to stand up for justice.



Whether she’s telling the truth or stretching it, Zora Neale Hurston is a riveting storyteller. Her latest creation is a shape-shifting gator man who lurks in the marshes, waiting to steal human souls. But when boastful Sonny Wrapped loses a wrestling match with an elusive alligator named Ghost — and a man is found murdered by the railroad tracks soon after — young Zora’s tales of a mythical evil creature take on an ominous and far more complicated complexion, jeopardizing the peace and security of an entire town and forcing three children to come to terms with the dual-edged power of pretending. Zora’s best friend, Carrie, narrates this coming-of-age story set in the Eden-like town of Eatonville, Florida, where justice isn’t merely an exercise in retribution, but a testimony to the power of community, love, and pride. A fictionalization of the early years of a literary giant, this astonishing novel is the first project ever to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust that was not authored by Hurston herself.



SHOW NOTES:


Victoria Bond (website)

"In Conversation: Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon" (Publishers Weekly)



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