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Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic

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Best Books of 2022, Library Journal

Big Indie Book of Fall, Publishers Weekly
Foreword INDIE, finalist in anthology
Georgia Author of the Year Award, finalist



"Valerie Boyd's Bigger Than Bravery isn't just an anthology; it is a survival guide."
--Courtney B. Vance, Tony- and Emmy-winning actor


An anthology of Black resilience and reclamation, with contributions by Pearl Cleage, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Tayari Jones, Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Deesha Philyaw, Khadijah Queen, Jason Reynolds, Alice Walker, and moreBorn of a desire to bring together the voices of those most harshly affected by the intersecting pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism, Bigger Than Bravery explores comfort and compromise, challenge and resilience, throughout the Great Pause that became the Great Call. Award-winning author and scholar of the Black archive Valerie Boyd curates this anthology of original essays and poems, alongside some of the most influential nonfiction published on the subject, inviting readers into a conversation of restorative joy and enduring wisdom. Bigger Than Bravery captures what Boyd calls the "first draft of history," with poems serving as deep breaths between narrative essays to form a loose chronology of this unprecedented time. Karen Good Marable cranks "Whip My Hair" from the car windows during quarantine joyrides with her daughter. Deesha Philyaw ponders loneliness as she sorts Zoom meetings into those that require a bra and those that don't. Writing in the moment though not of it, Pearl Cleage reflects on what has and hasn't changed since the AIDS epidemic. Jason Reynolds harnesses heat and flavor to carry on his father's legacy.Sorrow and outrage have their say, but the stories in these pages are bright with family, music, food, and home, teaching us how to nourish ourselves and our communities. Looking ahead as much as it looks back, Bigger Than Bravery offers a window into a hopeful, complex present, establishing an essential record of how Black people in America insist on joy as an act of resistance.


ISBN-13: 9781940596471

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Lookout Books

Publication Date: 11-15-2022

Pages: 256

Product Dimensions: 8.40h x 5.50w x 1.00d

Valerie Boyd was the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Georgia, where she founded and directed the low-residency MFA in narrative nonfiction, opening doors for women and people of color and establishing a community of writers and editors that continues to flourish. The New York Times called her "an electrifying essayist and an energizing mentor." A scholar of the Black archive, she was author of the critically acclaimed Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston and editor of Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker. Boyd was formerly arts editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and senior consulting editor at the Bitter Southerner. She wrote for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Bon Appétit, ESSENCE, and the Oxford American, among many others.