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Tara M. Stringfellow Books In Order

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Tara M. Stringfellow is an author, poet, and former attorney. She released her first novel, Memphis, in 2022.

The author attended Northwestern University where she graduated with her MFA. She has lived all around the world in her life with stops in Okinawa, Ghana, Chicago, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Washington DC, but she now makes her home back where it all started in Memphis, Tennessee. She enjoys her life there as she is able to sit on her porch swing every night with her husband, listening to records and talking with their neighbors.

In addition to her novel, Stringfellow has written for many publications in her career, including Collective Unrest, Minerva Rising, Jet Fuel Review, WomensArts Quarterly Journal, and Apogee Journal.

She has said that she comes from a long line of authors. One of her earliest memories is of her father pointing out to her that she would have to write better that Edgar Allan Poe if she wanted to make it because she was a woman and nonwhite. Her dive into fiction was inspired by racism. She found herself unprepared for all of the hate and nationalism that was going in on the country surrounding the 2016 election. Tara called her mother to talk and her mother told her: “In times of extreme sorrow, we pray. In times of extreme joy, we pray.” For Stringfellow, that meant writing as that was the closest thing she knew to praying.

Her first book Memphis was released in 2022 to great reviews. It was named as one of the most anticipated books of the year by publications like Oprah Daily, Essence, Glamour, and Marie Claire. It was a national bestseller and was selected as a Read with Jenna Book Club Pick on Today. Memphis has drawn comparisons to The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and is recommended to fans of that book.

Memphis begins in the summer of 1995. Ten-year-old Joan, her sister, and mother have to flee a dangerous father and make their way home to Memphis. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that violence has changed the family’s course. Her grandfather built their house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass, but ended up being lynched after becoming the city’s first Black detective. Joan does her best to settle into her new life, but the family’s secrets loom large.

Joan grows up and finds relief in her art and paints portraits of their community. Miss Dawn, a neighbor, is one of her subjects who shares with Joan stories about the past that inspire her. The stories help her to see how her passion, imagination, and relentless hope are things that were passed down to her in a long matrilineal tradition. Joan learns about the impossible choices that her mother and mother’s mother made and how they each put their own dreams on hold so that Joan could have a better life. It also shows her that the only thing she needs to heal is her paintbrush.

The story of Joan in Memphis unfolds over seventy years. The story moves back and forth through time and tells of a story of brutality and justice, faith and forgiveness, sacrifice and love.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Tara M. Stringfellow

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