On Monday, August 5, 2019, the world lost Nobel Prize-winning African-American author Toni Morrison. Through her passing, she left behind an indelible mark on U.S. and global letters. Morrison’s influence on Black life and thought is as expensive and profound as her literary catalog. Throughout the world, individuals have gathered in person and online, to share stories about how reading Morrison’s works of fiction and nonfiction has changed their lives. In this same spirit, PRH presents a yearlong community book club in partnership with, and lead by Emerson Zora Hamsa. “Houston Reads Toni Morrison!” will focus on Morrison's eleven novels and her one collection of nonfiction. Starting on Sunday, September 22nd, the book club will meet on every third Sunday of each month, from 2-5PM in our Community Gallery Space. Please join us as we revisit the work of this important artist and thinker, sharing memories, reading passages, reciting poems, or simply sitting in silence in honor of the memory of Toni Morrison.
September 22, 2019 – The Bluest Eye
October 20, 2019 – Sula
November 17, 2019 – Song of Soloman
December 15, 2019 – Tar Baby
January 19, 2020 – Beloved
February 16, 2020 – Jazz
March 22, 2020 *Fourth Sunday – Paradise
April 19, 2020 – Love
May 17, 2020 - A Mercy
June 21, 2020 – Home
July 19, 2020 – God Help the Child
August 16, 2020 – The Source of Self-Regard: Essays Speeches, and Meditations
About Emerson Zora Hamsa
Emerson Zora Hamsa is a lifelong reader who has been reading Toni Morrison since childhood. Zora credits reading the works of Morrison and other Black women writers for repeatedly saving *her life. Zora's love of the Afro-American literary tradition, and a deep appreciation for its mystical underpinnings, led her to seminary in Washington, D.C., where she earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) and wrote a thesis titled "All We Have is Flesh: Womanist Spirituality and the Literary Imagination of Octavia Estelle Butler." Currently, Zora is a doctoral researcher in the English Department at Rice University in Houston.
Zora's research fields are 19th Century and 20th Century United States literature and African-American literature. She is at work on a dissertation project that explores memory, spatial affect, and speculative plantation discourse in post-slavery American literature. Zora teaches a Fall 2019 undergraduate literature course at Rice University titled "Black Women and the Afterlives of Slavery: An Introduction to African-American Literature," a course that provides an introduction to the Afro-American literary tradition through critical examination of narrative representations of gender(s), with specific attention to Black women and Black girls and their relationship to Black life in the wake of slavery. Check her out on Instagram at @zorahzora and on Twitter at @zorafuture.