Home > African American Authors, African American Literature, Podcast > Interview with Ayana Mathis, Author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Interview with Ayana Mathis, Author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of HattieWhen Oprah Winfrey decided that The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was going to be her February book club selection, it gave poet and first time author Ayana Mathis the kind of publicity one can only dream of.  After reading her book and interviewing Ayana, I can only conclude she deserves the praise she is receiving.

Ayana Mathis

Ayana Mathis

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie chronicles the challenges an African American family faces trying to find happiness or just some level of contentment as the members battle a range of sorrows and tragedies from 1925 to 1980.  The novel opens with tragedy as a young Hattie in 1925 battles to save her infant twins from dying from pneumonia.  We learn that Hattie is only 17 and recently moved to Philadelphia from Georgia.  With each chapter their is another tragedy, another personal weakness, another affliction for one of the tribes of Hattie to overcome.  As we move through the years, ever lurking in the narrative is the role Hattie’s unhappiness has played in the lives of her children.

To listen to my 37 minute interview with Ayana Mathis, click here: Ayana Mathis Interview

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