“An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. (Workman)


Tayari Jones is a woman of many talents.

She’s a graduate of many colleges, including Arizona State University, a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of several book awards, and, most recently, an author of a book chosen for Oprah Winfrey’s book club.

And lucky for you, Jones will be attending this year’s 10th annual Tucson Festival of Books.

Winfrey started her book club in affiliation with her talk show in 1996, where she picked a monthly book for her viewers to read and talk about. The segment came to a close in 2011, but in 2012, Winfrey relaunched a digital version of the book club. This month, Winfrey selected Jones’ book, “An American Marriage.”

The book follows newlyweds Celestial and Roy, an artist and a corporate executive, respectively. As they begin their married lives, “they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined,” the preview reads.

In a video posted on Winfrey’s website, she says, “The novel redefines the traditional American love story.”

“You’ll come away with greater empathy and understanding,” Winfrey says. “But even if you don’t, it’s just a really great read. It’s the perfect book to read along with a friend or family member. You’re going to want to have someone else reading it because it’s so juicy.”

“It’s one of those books I could not put down,” she adds.

Brenda Viner, one of the Tucson Festival of Books’ founders, says she’s excited to hear about Winfrey’s newest book pick.

“Every year when we start accumulating authors for the festival, we’re always trying to look for great authors in every genre,” Viner says. “I went after Tayari Jones last summer and was very excited when I was told she wanted to attend.”

Viner says she was surprised when the news broke that “An American Marriage” was an Oprah Book Club selection.

“It just added to our excitement in bringing in these top-quality authors,” she says.

See Jones at the Tucson Festival of Books at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 11.

Gloria Knott is a Tucson-based freelance writer.