Please read on to learn about Cora’s Kitchen by Kimberly Garrett Brown.
About Cora’s Kitchen:
It is 1928 and Cora James, a 35-year-old Black librarian who works at the 135th Street library in Harlem, writes Langston Hughes a letter after identifying with one of his poems. She even reveals her secret desire to write.
Langston responds, encouraging Cora to enter a writing contest sponsored by the National Urban League, and ignites her dream of being a writer. Cora is frustrated with the writing process, and her willingness to help her cousin Agnes keep her job after she is brutally beaten by her husband lands Cora in a white woman’s kitchen working as a cook.
In the Fitzgerald home, Cora discovers she has time to write and brings her notebook to work. When she comforts Mrs. Fitzgerald after an argument with Mr. Fitzgerald, a friendship forms.
Mrs. Fitzgerald insists Cora call her Eleanor and gives her The Awakening by Kate Chopin to read. Cora is inspired by the conversation to write a story and sends it to Langston.
Eventually she begins to question her life and marriage and starts to write another story about a woman’s sense of self. Through a series of letters, and startling developments in her dealings with the white family, Cora’s journey to becoming a writer takes her to the brink of losing everything, including her life.
About the Author:
Kimberly Garrett Brown is the founder and editor of a women’s literary press, Minerva Rising. Her work has been published in numerous publications including Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A collection of essays, poems and personal narratives, The Feminine Collective, and the Chicago Tribune. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida. Cora’s Kitchen is her debut novel.
Finalist, 2018 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition
Finalist, 2016 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize
“It has been said, the universal is found in the specific, and in CORA’S KITCHEN all women will find their challenges and longings expressed in unflinching honesty. Kimberly Brown’s characters are faithful to a time, yet timeless, transcending the years to both painfully and beautifully illustrate the struggles women face to find and fulfill their vocations.
—ERIKA ROBUCK, national bestselling author of The Invisible Woman
“… Cora’s Kitchen delves deeply into what it means to be a Black woman with ambition, to make choices and keep secrets, and to have an unexpected alliance with a white woman that ultimately may save both of them.
In this intimate and expansive novel, Kim Garrett Brown renders Cora with immense empathy, acknowledging and confronting Cora’s own prejudices and allegiances and the social pressures that continue to reverberate far beyond this story.
Cora’s Kitchen is a poignant, compelling story in which misfortune and fortune cannot be teased apart and literature and life have everything to do with each other.”
—Anna Leahy, author of What Happened Was: and Tumor
“Told by a woman of color who dares hold literary ambitions during the Harlem
Renaissance, her story touches on the burdens women of all classes and races frequently carry–– the stress of having to make a living while dealing with the complexities of marriage and family life, and at the same time, wanting more for themselves….I suspect many readers, especially women readers like me, will devour this beautiful and moving story in one sitting.
Indeed, Cora’s Kitchen is destined to become a feminist classic.”
—Rosemary Daniell, award-winning author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women’s Lives, and nine other books of poetry and prose
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