Book Talk with LaShonda Barnett
Jam on the Vine is an stirring historical novel chronicling the early 20th century resurgence of African-American activism through the life of a poor Texas girl who channels a lifelong love of newsprint into a groundbreaking journalism career. Jam on the Vine was an Editor’s Choice pick at the Chicago Tribune, won ElIe Magazine’s Belle Lettres 2015 Reader’s Prize, and won the Emerging Writers Award at the 2015 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. The novel was shortlisted for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize and is a 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist.
LaShonda is a lover and scholar of music of the African diaspora and an avid interviewer. She has conducted over one hundred interviews with women musicians and edited the volumes, I GOT THUNDER: Black Women Songwriters On Their Craft(2007) and OFF THE RECORD: Conversations With African American & Brazilian Women Musicians, (2015). The third music book, DROP THE MIC: Women Hip Hop & Neo Soul Artists Sound Off On Creativity & Commerce is forthcoming by Wesleyan University Press. She has hosted her own jazz radio program on WBAI-99.5 FM NYC, taught ‘Women in Jazz’ at New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, and lectured on the music in Austria, Brazil, France, Germany and South Africa. She received a B.A. from the University of Missouri, a M.A. in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College and a Ph.D. in American Studies at the College of William and Mary. She has taught history and literature at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, Hunter College and Brown University. She is visiting professor at Northwestern University for the 2016/17 academic year, where she’ll teach full time in the African American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies departments.