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Valerie Boyd

Before her untimely death in February 2022, 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 energizing mentor.” A scholar of the Black archive and the preeminent biographer of Zora Neale Hurston, she was also 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 also wrote for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Essence, and the Oxford American, among other places.

Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic is her last book project.