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

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

Born 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.

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 more 

$18.95

Please note: preorders will not ship until September 2022

Synopsis

Born 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.  

Details
Please note: preorders will not ship until September 2022

ISBN: 9781940596471
Price: $18.95
Publication Date: September 20, 2022
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Format: Trade paper with French flaps
Essay | Poetry | Black Studies

Advance Praise

A brilliant chronicle of the Black experience in the age of Covid-19 . . . Valerie Boyd’s Bigger Than Bravery isn’t just an anthology; it is a survival guide. As the country slowly finds itself returning to normal life, the authors’ reflections on Black resilience and reclamation not only have the power to heal but provide hope and a road map for a brighter, more inclusive future.”  

Courtney B. Vance

Tony- and Emmy-winning actor 

1/5

Advanced Praise

Heart-wrenching, funny, and outrageously human, these pieces help us reflect on a dark period of a global pandemic and the shifting meanings of normalcy.”  

Nicole Dennis-Benn

author of the New York Times Best Seller Patsy

2/5

Advanced Praise

In this anthology, Black writers explore the courage, the fear, and all the mottled emotions in between that ruled us during the most uncertain days of the pandemic. Their powerful essays and poems take the breath away, then help us to breathe again.”  

Jacqueline Woodson

author of the New York Times Best Sellers Brown Girl Dreaming and Red at the Bone

3/5

Advanced Praise

“After a year in which the longstanding inequities faced by Black people and communities were laid starkly bare, these pieces offer resistance and political commentary, yes. But they also—in prose and poetry that is thought-provoking, moving, and wise—delve into deeply personal stories of longing and solitude, the pleasures of food and friendship, family histories, and the meaning of home. ‘Resilience’ is an overused and sometimes overvalued concept, and yet that’s exactly what kept coming to mind as I read this fine collection: the writers’ steadfast insistence not just on surviving, but thriving, on wresting joy from a time of crisis and loss.”

Nina Revoyr

author of Wingshooters and Southland

4/5

Advanced Praise

 “Bigger Than Bravery demonstrates the power of words to help heal what ails us. The timely collection provides the balm of comfort and joy we all need to overcome this peril, however long it takes.”  

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

American civil rights activist, journalist, and foreign correspondent

5/5

About the Author

Valerie Boyd was the author of the critically acclaimed Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston and the editor of Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker. She 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. Formerly arts editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and senior consulting editor at the Bitter Southerner, Boyd also wrote for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Bon Appetit, Essence, and the Oxford American, among other places. Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic is her final book.

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