Mathis to read from 'Twelve Tribes' Feb. 25 at Englert

Mathis to read from 'Twelve Tribes' Feb. 25 at Englert

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Ayana Mathis, University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop alumna, will read from The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, the most recent pick for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, in a free reading at the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City.

What is The Twelve Tribes of Hattie about? In 1923, a teenage Hattie flees Georgia for Philadelphia, where, though her first two babies die because she can't afford medicine, she keeps nine children alive with old southern remedies and sheer love. Saddled with a husband who will bring her nothing but disappointment, she prepares her children for a world she knows will not be kind to them. Their trials are the trials on which the history of America was forged, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a force stronger than love or trouble, the determination to get by and get through.

Read more about Mathis’ life in the post-Oprah whirlwind:

The story of human persistence in the face of insurmountable adversity resonated with critics. The Publishers Weekly starred review surmised, “Mathis weaves this story with confidence, proving herself a gifted and powerful writer.” And Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winner and a mentor to Mathis during her time at the Writers’ Workshop, says of the debut novel, “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a vibrant and compassionate portrait of a family hardened and scattered by circumstance and yet deeply a family. Its language is elegant in its purity and rigor. The characters are full of life, mingled thing that it is, and dignified by the writer’s judicious tenderness towards them. This first novel is a work of rare maturity.”

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a graduate program in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this reading, call Jan Weissmiller at Prairie Lights, 319-337-2681. For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the new Arts Iowa website.


Christopher Clair, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0900


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