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The Evolution of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
Posted: Sun 02/03/2013 02:00 PM
It's hard to believe, but The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is Ayana Mathis' first novel. Set in Philadelphia, this powerful book tells the story of Hattie, a strong complicated woman whose difficult life takes its toll on her and her children. "When I read it, the characters leapt from the pages, and I knew almost instantly that this would be our next book club selection," Oprah says.
Ayana grew up in Philadelphia, the daughter of a single mother who instilled a fierce love of reading in her. By the time she was 9, she was writing stories of her own. Eventually, her talent led her to the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop. It was there that she conceived and wrote The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
In an exclusive "Super Soul Sunday" interview, Ayana sits down with Oprah to talk about the novel that literally kept Oprah up at night. Watch clips from their conversation below!
Before she was a writer, Ayana was a reader. What was the first book Ayana loved as a child? Find out what classic she still can't get enough of. Plus, the book that moved Ayana to cry for nearly four hours when she read it as an adult:
The novel that became the second Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection would never have been written without, as Ayana puts it, an "ugly cry crisis moment." Watch as Ayana explains how a difficult time at the acclaimed University of Iowa Writers' Workshop helped birth The Twelve Tribes of Hattie:
Oprah says that while reading The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, she found herself waking up in the middle of the night wondering what the characters of the book were doing, as if they were real people! So how did author Ayana Mathis create souls for each of her characters? Watch as Ayana explains her process and reveals whether she decides her characters' fates—or whether the characters do it themselves:
The titular character in The Twelve Tribes of Hattie takes on a life of her own. Find out why Ayana modeled parts of Hattie Shepherd's character after her grandmother. Plus, Ayana explains why Hattie breaks the stereotypes of what a strong woman should be:
As a writer, what does Ayana most want the world to see in her novel? Plus, find out why Oprah believes this book embodies one universal truth: that all pain is the same:
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