Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has chosen the novel Twelve Tribes of Hattie, written by author Ayana Mathis, 39, as the next read for her Book Club 2.0. The debut novel is about the Great Migration to Philadelphia, told through the voices of one African American family.
Winfrey gushed about the book and remarked that it moved her much in the way of “the work of Toni Morrison.
According to Winfrey, staring today the novel will be available in bookstores nationwide with a first printing of 125,000, an increase from 50,000. The novel will also be on line through her Book Club 2.0 website, highlighting her favorite passages with personal notes.
Oprah’s Book Club started as a feature on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996, and has become one of the most influential forces in publishing. In 2002, Oprah decided to suspend her book club. She started it up again in 2003 with a focus on classic literature. In 2005, Oprah decided to include contemporary titles in her Book Club, starting with James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. The book club took another break in 2010 when The Oprah Winfrey Show went off the air. In 2012, Winfrey launched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, which uses online resources and Oprah’s network, OWN, to highlight books.
Twelve Tribes of Hattie, draws a little from Mathiss own childhood. It describes the struggle her mother went through raising her on her own. As a child Mathis moved very frequently. She lived in New York during college, and attended Columbia University. She then moved on to graduate work at Iowa Writers Workshop. Before being recognized for her writing, Mathis worked as a waitress and as a freelance journalist at Glamour Magazine.
I didn’t take it with the idea of becoming a professional writer, said Mathis. But writing was really tugging at me. I don’t know why it became so urgent. I guess it was just time.
According to Winfrey, she knew before the end of the first chapter that Mathis book would be her selection.
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