National Award Winning Author, Professor & Activist
Dr. Sanderia Faye (Smith) is an Assistant Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Dallas Literary Festival at Southern Methodist University (SMU). She is also a professional speaker, activist and sommelier, where she pairs wine with books. Her novel, Mourner’s Bench, a coming of age story set in the Arkansas Delta during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, is the winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Philosophical Society of Texas Award of Merit for fiction, and Arkansas Library Association, Arkansiana Award. She is the co-leader of Pen America/DFW, co-founder of Kimbilio Center for Fiction and the founder of LitNight Reading Series. She also serves on the faculty at the Antioch University MFA Low Residency Program, and on the board of Deep Vellum Publishing. Read More >
How People Survive | Arizona PBS
Writer’s Workshop: Elements of Fiction | Fort Worth Public Library
With this timely speech, Sanderia Faye helps audience members untangle the process of changing careers. Whether you have been considering a career move for quite some time, or you just decided today you are ready to make a change, Faye helps you begin the process of transitioning to a new role. It is never too early or too late to follow your dreams.
During the pandemic, the arts have been a key element in helping us maintain our optimism. Why did creativity play an important role in the classroom? Covid19 forced us to rapidly switch gears and helped educators guide their students to create new and meaningful ideas. Creativity in the classroom helped students take risks and to be independent and flexible.
Self-doubt kills more dreams than fear. Give yourself permission to follow your dreams in the face of fear and doubt. Sanderia Faye gives audiences practical ways to find and use their unique voice and embrace all the possibilities that follow.
When law enforcement becomes violent and utilize excessive force, it is a civil rights violation. Sanderia Faye presents this discussion about the police violations that leave so many feeling helpless and experiencing PTSD. The physical and emotional consequences of police brutality can be staggering. Let’s begin by talking honestly about it.
Sanderia Faye explores the history of voter suppression from Jim Crowe to modern tactics used to prevent African Americans from voting. This a thorough examination of the countless means used to discourage or prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote.
Let’s look at the numbers from MFA programs to agents and from publishing to the media. Where are the people of color?
Women were the backbone of the CRM especially in small towns. They played a crucial role as strategists and advocates and they brought their children with them. They participated despite the dangers including violence, homelessness, and unemployment.
There is more to being an author than putting pen to paper. You belong to a local and national community of readers and writers. What is required to become a good literary citizen and activist? Sanderia Faye discusses supporting the literary community and all that entails.
“An astute coming-of-age tale set against an all-too-relevant background.”
“With Mourner’s Bench, Sanderia Faye announces herself as a bold, at times intoxicating, original voice in American fiction. This is a stunning debut.”
“Chapter by chapter, without ever seeming to struggle, Mourner’s Bench completely immerses us in small-town 1960’s Arkansas, a time and place of racial turmoil and social conflict that very much speaks to our own. Perhaps the greatest of the book’s many successes is the richness of its young protagonist, Sarah Jones, whose voice is so candid and whose difficulties are so involving that it’s impossible not to sympathize with her. As a result, your stance on the civil rights battle in which she finds herself embroiled evolves right along with hers, taking on unexpected nuances and complexities. Reading her story, no matter what you believe history might have taught us since, you feel as if the questions of racial justice are not only unresolved but barely yet asked.”
“Brilliantly written, Mourner’s Bench takes the reader back to 1960s small-town Arkansas and tells a story about the public and private ways that black and white people worked for or resisted change. A powerful, brilliant book.”
“Faye’s clear-eyed yet tender vision imbues this story of our difficult past with ringing hope for the future. This is a novel that lingers in your spirit like the bittersweet chords of a favorite song.”
“A quiet tour de force, a story of innocence and coming of age, beautifully told and brimming with life.”
“Sanderia Faye’s portrait of life in a black community in rural Arkansas during the era of segregation is well-drawn, and her characters are unforgettable. The book is well-written and well-researched. It should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand a little-known chapter of civil rights history. This compelling novel will appeal to literary enthusiasts and history buffs alike.”
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