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Photo: Nina Subin

at The Wheeler Centre

Tayari Jones: An American Marriage

‘I know you’re innocent, there is not one doubt in my mind, but I also know that you’re not here.’

How much disruption can love endure?

With her latest novel, An American Marriage, Tayari Jones immerses readers in the inner worlds of Celestial and Roy – an ambitious newlywed African American couple on the brink of a promising future together. Suddenly, one year into their marriage, Roy is convicted of a crime they both know he didn’t commit.

Roy’s incarceration sets the scene for a complex, heartbreaking love story that navigates fidelity, obligation and the weight of the past. Told in part through an incisively crafted series of prison letters, the book brings broad social ideas – the American Dream, the New South, the racism of the judicial system and the prison industrial complex – into an intimate negotiation of desires and disappointments.

Alongside her latest Oprah-approved novel, Jones has written three previous works of fiction – Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, and Silver Sparrow – all set in her hometown of Atlanta. She visits the Wheeler Centre this May to discuss her writing – and how we grapple with the intrusions of chance, timing and history into our lives.

Paperback Books will be our bookseller at this event.


Portrait of Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, including Silver SparrowThe Untelling, and Leaving Atlanta. Jones holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. She serves on the MFA faculty at Rutgers and blogs on writing at She lives in Brooklyn. 

Portrait of Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran is Managing Editor of Crikey, writing mainly on politics and the media. Previously Bhakthi was a journalist and editor at the Age and Sydney Morning Herald covering arts, entertainment and business. She co-hosted the podcast Hard Bargain, is a regular media commentator and sits on the board of the National Young Writers’ Festival.


An alchemy of writers. An explosion of ideas.

Do you like your military history with a side of hip-hop? How about fabulist fiction beside trailblazing journalism? This May, take your brain out for a spin. You’ll meet Pulitzer-winners, YA stars, eminent historians, poets, rappers and some of the world’s best living novelists.

Event partners

Logos of partner organisations: Sydney Writers Festival, Auckland Writers Festival, State Library Victoria, State Library of Queensland, Byron Writers Festival and 3RRR


More about this venue, including large map, parking, public transport and accessibility.

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