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Archive: Wine and Words: An Evening with Emily Bernard

  • Hammonds House Museum 503 Peeples Street, SW Atlanta SE United States (map)

“Blackness is an art, not a science,” writes Emily Bernard. “It is a paradox: intangible and visceral; a situation and a story. It is the thread that connects these essays, but its significance as an experience emerges randomly, unpredictably...Race is the story of my life, and therefore black is the body of this book.”

Twelve deeply personal and interconnected essays make up Bernard’s first memoir BLACK IS THE BODY: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine (Alfred A. Knopf, January 29, 2019). Bernard begins with an episode of violence: while a graduate student at Yale, she was working in a coffee shop when a stranger randomly stabbed her, and six others, with a knife. That shocking attack would eventually unleash the storyteller in her, and in these pages she seeks to find a language to capture the fullness and complexities of her experiences as a victim, a woman, a black American, a teacher, writer, mother, wife, and daughter. Each of the essays is anchored in a mystery, and each explores the nuances and paradoxes of Bernard’s identity—as a woman who grew up black in the south and who married a white man from the north, as a black professor teaching mostly white students in Vermont about race, as a mother who adopted two babies from Ethiopia.

This fearless and penetrating memoir has already been lauded as “contemplative and compassionate” (Publishers Weekly), “clear and confident” (LitHub), and “deeply felt, unflinchingly honest, and openly questioning” (Kirkus). The publication of BLACK IS THE BODY indeed marks “the emergence of an extraordinary voice on race in America” (O Magazine).

About Emily Bernard
EMILY BERNARD was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. Her work has appeared in The American Scholar, The Boston Globe Magazine, Green Mountains Review, Oxtford American, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and theatlantic.com. Her essays have been reprinted in Best American Essays, Best African American Essays, and Best of Creative Nonfiction. Her first book, Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She has received fellowships and grants from Yale University, Harvard University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Studio Center, and The MacDowell Colony. A contributing editor at The American Scholar, Emily is the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont.

Admission is free for Hammonds House Museum Members. Black Is The Body must be purchased separately. Admission for Non-Members is $10.00 plus the cost of the book. The cost of the book is $25.95 and will be available for purchase at the event. Seating is limited. Registration is required.

Wine and Words was developed by Hammonds House Museum and Written Magazine. It is produced and presented by Hammonds House Museum and curated by Michelle Gipson for Written Magazine. Special thanks to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and Fulton County Department of Arts and Culture for their generous financial support.