Join us for our inaugural book in the Rubber Banned Book Club!
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A PARADE BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME •
From the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner—a powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity that asks questions about race, class, and gender with characteristic subtly and grace. In Morrison’s acclaimed first novel, Pecola Breedlove—an 11-year-old Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others—prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. Here, Morrison’s writing is “so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry” (The New York Times).
WHY WAS THIS BOOK BANNED IN SOME SCHOOLS & STATES?
First published in 1970, Morrison’s novel depicts child abuse and sexual violence led to it being one of the Top 10 banned books of 2023. (32 bans, 73 challenges)
HOW DOES THE CLUB WORK?
Register to join HERE by November 20. Members will meet in December by Zoom to decide frequency and length of meetings; guidelines; logistics; and how much of this book we want read aloud. Our incredibly talented actresses will read the entire book or selected passages. This club is members only. Admission is free.
TONI MORRISON was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She was the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Sula, Beloved, Paradise, and Love. She received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Toni Morrison died on August 5, 2019 at the age of eighty-eight.
Born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, Morrison graduated from Howard University in 1953 with a B.A. in English. She earned a master’s degree in American Literature from Cornell University in 1955. In 1957 she returned to Howard University, was married, and had two children before divorcing in 1964. Morrison became the first black female editor in fiction at Random House in New York City in the late 1960s. She developed her own reputation as an author in the 1970s and ’80s. Her novel Beloved was made into a film in 1998. Morrison’s works are praised for addressing the harsh consequences of racism in the United States and the Black American experience.
The National Endowment for the Humanities selected Morrison for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities, in 1996. She was honored with the National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters the same year. She received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in 2016. Morrison was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2020.
JOSLYN JONES is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. Credits include Flyin’ West (American Blues Theater) Steel Magnolias (Theatre at the Center); Intimate Apparel (Theatre Squared); ANDROMEDA (Theatre Squared); The Project(s) (American Theater Company) Jeff Nomination, Best Production; The Delany Sisters: Having Our Say – The First Hundred Years (Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre); Once On This Island (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre); 12 Ophelias (Trap Door Theatre); Weekend (TimeLine Theatre), Bourbon At The Border (Eclipse Theatre) BTAA Nomination, Featured Actress; Escape (Live Bait Theatre); Flyin’ West and RAISIN (Court Theatre), Bee-Luther-Hatchee (The University Of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign); Fabulation: Or, The Re-Education of Undine (Next Theatre); Relevant Hearsay (MPACCT: Theater on the Lake); Bee-Luther-Hatchee and Smokey Joe’s Café (Open Door Theater); Meshuggah Nuns! (Chicago Jewish Theatre); The Kurt Weil Revue: Songs of Darkness and Light (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) Jeff Nomination, Best Musical Production; To Kill A Mockingbird (Metropolis Performing Arts Centre); 2002 Class of The School at Steppenwolf. She has understudied: Having Our Say and Crumbs From The Table of Joy (Goodman Theatre); Film: Cherry, directed by the Russo Brothers with Tom Holland as her scene partner; Television: South Side-Mrs. Odom (HBO Max); Chicago PD (NBC). Joslyn is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. linktr.ee/JoslynJones
CAMILLE ROBINSON is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. She has been with the company since 2016, after making her debut in the critically-acclaimed production of Little Shop of Horrors. She has also appeared in 4 productions of Blues’ smash holiday tradition, It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! Recent theater credits include: Once on This Island (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Cinderella (Paramount Theatre) and The Color Purple (Drury Lane Theatre). Proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
Represented by Gray Talent Group. camille-robinson.com
ADRIENNE WALKER is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. She is most known for her roles as Nala in Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway and Hattie in Roundabout Theatre’s revival of Kiss Me Kate. Adrienne is a southern girl at heart from Jonesboro, GA and received her BA in music at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and a masters of the same at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. Adrienne started her musical theatre career by chance after booking a small role in Court Theatre’s production of Porgy and Bess. Regional credits: The 12, Rent, Hair, Dreamgirls, Agamemnon, Iphigenia in Aulis and The Color Purple, where she received a Jeff nomination for her portrayal of Shug Avery. TV credits: Law & Order: Organized Crime, FBI, and Power Book IV: Force. Adrienne also enjoys making handmade soap and skin care products for her Etsy shop TemboSpa. In addition, she offers audition advice alongside her husband and fellow American Blues Ensemble member Austin Cook under their podcast and teaching platform www.32barcut.com. More info at www.adriennemwalker.com
WANDACHRISTINE is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. She has starred on many stages throughout the country in notable productions as the touring company of Fences, The Vagina Monologues, Gee’s Bend, and Thyestes. For her work in Old Settler, she received a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for Supporting Actress and a Best Actress nomination for the noted Ruby Dee/Black Theater Alliance Award. For her work in American Blues Theater’s production of Beauty’s Daughter, she won the Ruby Dee/Black Theater Alliance Award for her solo performance. She’s toured regionally in Danai Gurira’s (“Black Panther” & “Walking Dead”) production of Familiar as well as the San Diego’s Old Globe production. Other recent productions include A Wonder in My Soul at Baltimore Center Stage and Incendiary at Goodman Theater. In film she’s worked alongside Whoopie Goldberg in “Clara’s Heart” and starred in the hit comedy as Mrs. Jones in “Me and Mrs. Jones” with Kym Fields. She’s appeared in the television series “Chicago PD”, numerous commercials, and voiced the animated characters in “The PJ’s”, “The Justice League”, and “Scarface” the video game. She’s written a fiction novel, “I Love You More…Than Shoes!” about four actresses over 50 years old still trying to make it in Hollywood; she is working on a Zoom production of the popular novel. As a playwright, she’s written for American Blues Theater’s Ripped Festival for many years. For the past 2 years she’s been delivering a daily podcast message to listeners worldwide; which she calls “Morning Messages with Wandachristine”. If you’d like to be a part of her 7 minute daily messages just go to her website; www.wandachristine.com; and send her a message along with your email address and become a part of the “Morning Messages” family. https://wandachristine.com/
PEN America – stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide.
American Library Association – is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally.
Illinois State Library Heritage Project – years in the making, this project chronicles the State Library’s growth throughout its 174 years of existence.