A New Novel in the Works:
It's official: I signed the contract with Atria B00ks/Simon & Schuster for a sequel to MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY. The sequel will take place in Naples, Florida with the same cast of characters (plus a few new ones) but a year later, in 1964-65.
New Blog Gig:
Southern Belle View Daily
I am delighted to announce that I've been invited to be one of ten women novelists sharing a group blog, Southern Belle View Daily. Come join us "on the porch" for some meaningful conversation! This link is to my first blog post, which describes the Delany Sisters' insistence on having a porch added to their cottage when they moved from Harlem to the Bronx. ("We're from North Carolina and a house ain't a home unless it has got itself a porch!")
A.L.A. Recommends MISS DREAMSVILLE:
MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY has been selected by Library Journal (American Library Association) in an article recommending books about book clubs. The article offers a full review of MISS DREAMSVILLE (the second glowing review by an ALA publication - a nice surprise!) and calls it "a heartwarming and poignant tale." Thank you, American Library Association!
A Brief Bio
Amy Hill Hearth (pronounced "HARTH") is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel, MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY, as well as seven nonfiction books, including the runaway hit, HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS' FIRST 100 YEARS. Published in 1993, HAVING OUR SAY, which was Ms. Hearth's first book, was a New York Times Bestseller for 113 weeks. It was also a Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Publisher's Weekly bestseller. In 1995, the book was adapted for Broadway and, in 1999, for an award-winning film. Ms. Hearth, who was portrayed in the film version of the book by the actress Amy Madigan, was an advisor on both the Broadway and film adaptations.
Ms. Hearth has been published by Simon & Schuster, Harper-Collins, Random House, Doubleday, and others. She has been represented by William Morris Agency (now William Morris Endeavor) since 1991.
Born in New England in 1958, Ms. Hearth spent her formative years in Columbia, South Carolina in the 1960s and her early adulthood in Florida in the 1980s. In recent years, she and her husband - who hails from Naples, Fla. - have lived in the Greater New York Area but visit the South regularly.
Ms. Hearth began her career as a journalist. HAVING OUR SAY, in fact, began as a story Ms. Hearth wrote about the then-unknown Delany Sisters for The New York Times. As a reporter who had always been interested in telling the stories of older people, Ms. Hearth had been eager to follow up on several leads about this reclusive and little-known pair of centenarian sisters, whose father had been born into slavery. When she finally did meet them, her dream of an interview almost didn't work out, as she later told The New York Times in a story published on April 2, 1995: "They didn't think they were important enough. I had to convince them and gave this little impromptu speech - that I thought it was very important that people from their generation be represented, especially black women who hadn't had much opportunity. I guess my enthusiasm rubbed off."
While most of Ms. Hearth's work focuses on American women who are unknown, there is one exception to date: In 2008, Ms. Hearth was asked by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to come to Washington to assist in writing Ms. Pelosi's first book, KNOW YOUR POWER: A MESSAGE TO AMERICA'S DAUGHTERS.
Ms. Hearth considers herself a "born writer." She decided to make writing her career while a student at the University of Tampa, Florida, where she earned a B.A. in Creative Writing (English minor) in 1982 and was editor of the college newspaper in her senior year. Her first newspaper job was assistant to the arts and entertainment editor at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass. Later, she was a reporter at the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal. After moving from Florida to the New York area, she wrote 88 bylined news stories and features for The New York Times.
Recently, Ms. Hearth turned to fiction because she wanted to try something new. Her first novel, published in 2012 by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, is MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY, the story of a middle-aged woman from Boston who moves with her family in 1962 to a small, Southern town in Florida, starts a literary salon, and shakes up the status quo. The novel was a book club pick for Simon & Schuster, a Reader's Digest Select Edition, and the January 2013 selection of the Pulpwood Queens, an international book club with 550 chapters. The book has received rave reviews; the Southern Literary Review called the writing "brilliant." Ms. Hearth is now at work on a sequel.
Amy Hill Hearth's awards include the following:
GEORGE FOSTER PEABODY AWARD for "excellence in television broadcasting," for her work on the film adaptation of HAVING OUR SAY (1999)
An AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION “Notable Book of the Year” (1994)
AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION “ABBY Honor Book” (1994)
CHRISTOPHER AWARD for Literature (1993)
NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINATION for Literature (1993)
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY'S “Best Books for Young Adults” - four times (in 1994, 1995, 1997, and 2001).
GWEN AND C. DALE WHITE AWARD in 1995, a national award from the United Methodist Church, “for introducing the Delany Sisters to a world audience.”
The Broadway play adaptation of HAVING OUR SAY received three TONY AWARD NOMINATIONS, including Best Play, 1995.
The television film adaptation of HAVING OUR SAY won a CHRISTOPHER AWARD for Television and an NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINATION for Television, 1999.
Delany, Sarah L. and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth. HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS' FIRST 100 YEARS. New York: Kodansha America, 1993.
Delany, Sarah L. and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth. THE DELANY SISTERS BOOK OF EVERYDAY WISDOM. New York: Kodansha America, 1994.
Delany, Sarah L. with Amy Hill Hearth. ON MY OWN AT 107: REFLECTIONS ON LIFE WITHOUT BESSIE. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco/Harper Collins, 1997. With watercolor illustrations by Brian M. Kotzky.
Hearth, Amy Hill. IN A WORLD GONE MAD: A HEROIC STORY OF LOVE, FAITH, AND SURVIVAL. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001.
Hearth, Amy Hill. THE DELANY SISTERS REACH HIGH. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004. Childrens biography of the Delany Sisters, with illustrations by Tim Ladwig.
Hearth, Amy Hill. 'STRONG MEDICINE' SPEAKS: A NATIVE AMERICAN ELDER HAS HER SAY: AN ORAL HISTORY. New York: Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2008.
Pelosi, Nancy with Amy Hill Hearth. KNOW YOUR POWER: A MESSAGE TO AMERICA'S DAUGHTERS. New York: Doubleday, 2008.
Hearth, Amy Hill. MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY: A NOVEL. New York: Atria/Simon & Schuster, Oct. 2, 2012.
Hearth, Amy Hill. Production advisor, theatrical adaptation of Having Our Say, 1995.
Hearth, Amy Hill. Production advisor, telefilm adaptation of Having Our Say, 1999.
MAGAZINE, NEWSPAPER CREDITS include:
The New York Times: 85 bylined stories from January 22, 1989 to June 14, 1992.
"Bessie and Sadie: the Delany Sisters Relive a Century," Smithsonian magazine, October 1993.
American Heritage article on the Delany Sisters, October 1993.
"You Can Fool Mother Nature," essay, Publisher's Weekly magazine, Dec. 12, 2011.
"Searching for Abraham," Tampa Review, Volume 23; 2002.
WEB CREDITS include:
"Having Their Say: Strong Voices from the Marginalized Majority," NWSAction, the online magazine of the National Women's Studies Association, Fall 2007.
"You Only Need One," ASJA Monthly, newsletter of the American Society of Journalists & Authors, January 2003.
"'Strong Medicine' Speaks," Smithsonian.com, January 2008.
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