Eatonville, Florida meets Eastonville D.C.

Zora Neale Hurston is often associated with her home town of Eatonville, Florida and the home of the Harlem Renaissance, Harlem, NY. However, she also spent a considerable amount of time in Washington, D.C. Hurston wrote some of her earliest stories and poems in Washington while a student at Howard University. She enrolled in 1919 at the age of 28. She also worked as a waitress at the Cosmos Club and as a manicurist at a black-owned barbershop near 14th and G streets NW.

Eatanville Restaurant helps to bring light to Zora Neale Hurston’s legacy in Washington D.C. The restaurant has day-glo murals inspired by Hurston’s work, large quotes of her words, and a painting of the town of Eatonville, FL. The Restaurant recently played host to a mini Zora festival, a prelude to the Annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities (http://www.zoranealehurstonfestival.com/) which takes place in Eatonville, Fl each year.

You can read a great article on the Eatonville Restaurant and their mini Zora Festival here:
Food and folklore for those hungering after Hurston


Zadie Smith writes about Zora Neale Hurston
Cover of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zadie Smith writes about Zora Neale Hurston in her new book, Changing My Mind, Occasional Essays. Changing My Mind, Occasional Essays.

She has this to say of Their Eyes Were Watching God:


“This is a beautiful novel about soulfulness. That it should be so is a tribute to Hurston's skill. She makes "culture" — that slow and particular and artificial accretion of habit and circumstance — seem as natural and organic and beautiful as the sunrise. She allows me to indulge in what Philip Roth once called "the romance of oneself," a literary value I dislike and yet, confronted with this beguiling book, cannot resist. She makes "black woman-ness" appear a real, tangible quality, an essence I can almost believe I share, however improbably, with millions of complex individuals across centuries and continents and languages and religions...


Almost — but not quite. That is to say, when I'm reading this book, I believe it, with my whole soul. It allows me to say things I wouldn't normally. Things like "She is my sister and I love her."


National Endowment for the Arts Announces The Big Read including “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), in partnership with Arts Midwest, today announced the pilot phase of The Big Read, a national initiative to encourage literary reading by asking communities to come together to read and discuss one book. Read more at the NEA.


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