ISBN-10: 1940596475
ISBN-13: 9781940596471
Publisher: Lookout Books
Publish Date: 11/15/2022
Dimensions: 8.40" L, 5.50" W, 1.00" H

Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic


Price: $18.95


Best Books of 2022, Library Journal

Big Indie Book of Fall, Publishers Weekly
2023 Georgia Author of the Year Award Winner for specialty book
Foreword INDIES silver winner for anthology

Valerie Boyd’s Bigger Than Bravery isn’t just an anthology; it is a survival guide.”
–Courtney B. Vance, Tony- and Emmy-winning actor

An anthology of Black resilience and reclamation, with contributions by Pearl Cleage, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Tayari Jones, Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Deesha Philyaw, Khadijah Queen, Jason Reynolds, Alice Walker, and more

Born of a desire to bring together the voices of those most harshly affected by the intersecting pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism, Bigger Than Bravery explores comfort and compromise, challenge and resilience, throughout the Great Pause that became the Great Call. Award-winning author and scholar of the Black archive Valerie Boyd curates this anthology of original essays and poems, alongside some of the most influential nonfiction published on the subject, inviting readers into a conversation of restorative joy and enduring wisdom.

Bigger Than Bravery captures what Boyd calls the “first draft of history,” with poems serving as deep breaths between narrative essays to form a loose chronology of this unprecedented time. Karen Good Marable cranks “Whip My Hair” from the car windows during quarantine joyrides with her daughter. Deesha Philyaw ponders loneliness as she sorts Zoom meetings into those that require a bra and those that don’t. Writing in the moment though not of it, Pearl Cleage reflects on what has and hasn’t changed since the AIDS epidemic. Jason Reynolds harnesses heat and flavor to carry on his father’s legacy.

Sorrow and outrage have their say, but the stories in these pages are bright with family, music, food, and home, teaching us how to nourish ourselves and our communities. Looking ahead as much as it looks back, Bigger Than Bravery offers a window into a hopeful, complex present, establishing an essential record of how Black people in America insist on joy as an act of resistance.

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"A truly remarkable collection of voices whose cumulative impact will be felt many years from now . . . This is a collection that deserves to be studied in classrooms across the country."
–Judges' Citation, 2023 Georgia Author of the Year Awards

"Eloquent and riveting, Boyd's collection delivers not only, as she promises in her introduction, 'a long exhalation, a silent prayer, a solace and a comfort' but also, in the words of Imani Perry, a celebration of Blackness as 'an immense and defiant joy.' This one's not to be missed."
Publishers Weekly, starred review, Big Indie Book of Fall

"A map of ancestral knowledge, revelatory insight, and feelings laid bare . . . These pages share poems of hope, narratives of loss, anger, fear, loneliness, togetherness, death, and most potently, life, to paint a portrait . . . resonant to all."
Library Journal, Editors' Pick

"A brilliant compilation of Black writers' reflections on the intersection of the Covid-19 pandemic and systemic racism . . . Boyd carefully curated works from some of the most influential Black authors."
The Root, Best Black Non Fiction of 2022

"Fierce and moving . . . this book adds to [Boyd's] impressive legacy. Kiese Laymon, Alice Walker, and Jason Reynolds–as well as a host of emerging writers–write with grace and power. . . . There is pain in these pieces, but also beauty and strength."
–Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Each piece is in conversation with every other, and while centering Black experiences, they are universal messages to the attuned ear. . . . Bigger Than Bravery reminds the reader, so many of us who are ready to move on from the pandemic, that this Great Pause and this Great Call was and is a profound and prophetic time. . . . There are deep lessons and golden blessings in the time of pandemic."
–K Anoa Monsho, The Guardian

"With this work, Boyd, Pearl Cleage, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Tayari Jones, Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Deesha Philyaw, Khadijah Queen, Alice Walker, and more have made significant contributions to history."
Library Journal, Best Books of 2022

"The contributions to Bigger Than Bravery . . . encourage readers to consider how to make good use of the moments we have–to persist past hardship, find joy in adversity, be resilient, survive, live on (or be remembered)."
–Michael Kleber-Diggs, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Spanning emotions from anger and frustration to joy and levity, Bigger Than Bravery is a multi-faceted look at the Black experience during the coronavirus pandemic. It tackles thorny issues and raises difficult questions, but ultimately it offers a ray of hope."
Suzanne Van Atten, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Crafted as an act of resistance to despair during the COVID-19 pandemic–which has disproportionately affected African Americans–Bigger Than Bravery gathers poetry and prose from thirty-one Black writers whose words offer 'comfort as we reach toward the promise of brighter days ahead.' "
–Poets & Writers

"A brilliant chronicle of the Black experience in the age of Covid-19. As this generation's leading writers struggle to live with both the virus and rising social injustice, their grief over lost loved ones, personal fears, and the pervading loneliness of isolation eventually lead them on the path to self-rediscovery. Valerie Boyd's Bigger Than Bravery isn't just an anthology; it is a survival guide. As the country slowly finds itself returning to normal life, the authors' reflections on Black resilience and reclamation not only have the power to heal but provide hope and a road map for a brighter, more inclusive future."
–Courtney B. Vance, Tony- and Emmy-winning actor

"Heart-wrenching, funny, and outrageously human, these pieces help us reflect on a dark period of a global pandemic and the shifting meanings of normalcy."
–Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of the New York Times Best Seller Patsy

"In this anthology, Black writers explore the courage, the fear, and all the mottled emotions in between that ruled us during the most uncertain days of the pandemic. Their powerful essays and poems take the breath away, then help us to breathe again."
–Jacqueline Woodson, author of the New York Times Best Sellers Brown Girl Dreaming and Red at the Bone

"After a year in which the longstanding inequities faced by Black people and communities were laid starkly bare, these pieces offer resistance and political commentary, yes. But they also–in prose and poetry that is thought-provoking, moving, and wise–delve into deeply personal stories of longing and solitude, the pleasures of food and friendship, family histories, and the meaning of home. 'Resilience' is an overused and sometimes overvalued concept, and yet that's exactly what kept coming to mind as I read this fine collection: the writers' steadfast insistence not just on surviving, but thriving, on wresting joy from a time of crisis and loss."
–Nina Revoyr, author of Wingshooters and Southland

"Bigger Than Bravery demonstrates the power of words to help heal what ails us. The timely collection provides the balm of comfort and joy we all need to overcome this peril, however long it takes."
–Charlayne Hunter-Gault, American civil rights activist, journalist, and foreign correspondent

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ISBN-10: 1940596475
ISBN-13: 9781940596471
Publisher: Lookout Books
Publish Date: 11/15/2022
Dimensions: 8.40" L, 5.50" W, 1.00" H
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